What is a prepositional phrase?
- She talked about the story. with noun
- She talked about Tom's funny story. with noun phrase
- She talked about what Tom said. with noun clause
If you want to use a verb in a prepositional phrase, you need to use a gerund (-ing noun made from a verb) or a gerund phrase.
- John is interested in painting. with gerund
- John is interested in painting portraits. with gerund phrase
Remember that the noun in a prepositional phrase is serving as the object of the preposition, so an object form is necessary. With pronouns, this means you must use the object form of the pronoun (me, him, her, us, them).
- Nate spoke to John and me. use "me" not "I".
- The book about him is very funny. use "him" not "he".
- John had dinner with them. use "them" not "they".
How do you use prepositional phrases?
Prepositional phrases are often used after verbs which require prepositions.
- She stared at the man and his wife.
- Frank searched for his car keys.
Prepositional phrases are also used to modify nouns, verbs, and adjectives. When they modify nouns, they are behaving like adjectives, so we call them adjective phrases. When they modify verbs or adjectives, they are behaving like adverbs, so we call them adverbial phrases.
- The book on the table is mine. adjective phrase modifying "book"
- I put the book down with force. adverbial phrase modifying "put"
- Jane seemed fascinated by Garrett's story. adverbial phrase modifying "fascinated"
Prepositional phrases can even modify the nouns in other prepositional phrases.
- John learned Japanese by practicing with native speakers.
- I put the book on the table in the kitchen.
More Prepositional Phrase Examples
- Robin was angry about the comment.
- After work, I always go to the gym.
- There's a snake under the tree.
- I was exhausted from skiing all day.
- Tina wanted to know about where I grew up.
- The photo of them was pretty good.
- John laughed at Rob and me.
- The woman next to him on the plane had a huge bag on her lap.
- The house on the hill was built by a man from Kentucky.
- I looked under the bed, in the closet, and behind the couch, but I couldn't find the cat.