Prepositions and prepositional phrases

Prepositions are location and time words. They indicate¬†where things are, where they’re going, and when they happen(ed).

Common Prepositions: to, from, for, at, by, with, between, about, in, on, around

Prepositional phrase – phrase that begins with a preposition. Prepositional phrase can contain nouns, pronouns, and adjectives, but they cannot contain verbs.

Examples:

-At my house

-During the long movie

-Between you and me

-To my older sister

If you’re not sure whether a word is a preposition, see if you can place it right before a noun at the end of a sentence. For example, you can say, My friend and I went to the movie because to is a preposition, but you cannot say, My friend and I went when the movie because when is not a preposition.

In addition, one of the most frequent questions students ask me is how they can figure out where prepositional phrases begin and end. The answer: a prepositional phrase begins at the preposition and ends right before the verb (if there is one).

In the following sentences, the prepositional phrases are underlined. Note that a sentence can easily contain multiple prepositional phrases back to back, and that a prepositional phrase can occur anywhere in a sentence.

-The stack of books is sitting on the kitchen table.

-One of the stories on the front page of the newspaper discusses the upcoming elections in great detail.

-The train is crowded with people on their way home from school and work.

-Sitting on the table are a peach and an apple.

Prepositional phrases are frequently inserted between subjects and verbs on both the SAT and the ACT in order distract from disagreements, so whenever you see a combination of singular and plural verbs in answer choices, crossing out prepositional phrases can help you identify errors.