3. Prepositional Phrases

Prepositional phrases always begin with a preposition, and I will give you a word bank of these on the test.

Prepositional phrases are extra bits of information that tell you more about a noun, pronoun, or verb in a sentence. THEY DO NOT INCLUDE A VERB. They tell you:

  • where: under the table, beside the fountain, in the closet, to the car, around the parking lot, on the roof
  • how: with an umbrella, against the wind
  • why: because of the weather
  • when: after class, before the funeral, during the hearing

Something to remember is this: “to” is a preposition UNLESS it is followed by a verb. If “to” is followed by a verb, that makes it an infinitive, which is a verb form: to run, to have, to look, to think, to eat, to loathe, to wish, to work, to study, to drive, to be sad. And not a prepositional phrase.

Prepositional phrases

  • are extra information
  • can be taken out of the sentence without ruining the sentence
  • can never have the subject in it, but CAN tell you more about the subject
  • often come between the subject and its verb
  • often come between ANY noun or pronoun and a verb

Notice the prepositional phrases in the following sentence:

You might want to look for an internship in the state senate house during the summer.

There are three – they tell what (for an internship), they tell where (in the state senate), they tell when (during the summer)

You can take them out of the sentence and still have a complete sentence. It won’t be a great sentence or an interesting one, but it’s still a sentence: You might want to look.

(Notice that “to look” is not a prepositional phrase because “look” is a verb. That makes “to look” an infinitive.)