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Prepositional Phrase

The prepositional phrase includes the preposition and the object of the preposition as well as any modifiers related to either.

A list of common prepositions:

above
across
after*
against
among
around at
according to
before*
behind
below

beneath
beside
besides
between
beyond

by
because of
by way of
down
during

except
for
from
in
inside
into
in addition to
in front of
in place of

in regard to
in spite of
instead of
like

near
of
off
on

out outside
over
on account of
out of

since
through
throughout
to

toward
under
until*
up

upon
with
without

[In the following examples, the preposition is bold and the prepositional phrase is underlined.]

  1. The flying saucer appeared above the lake before it disappeared into space.
    1. ABOVE is not an adverb because it has an object to complete its meaning; therefore, ABOVE is a preposition and the entire phrase is an adverb phrase.
  2. Crystal could hear her sister snoring across the room.
    1. Objects usually answer the question what. Therefore, we can ask across what? to determine the object of the preposition.
  3. Christine discovered a pile of books hidden under the staircase.
    1. UNDER is not an adverb because it alone does not answer where about the verb.
  4. You should consider reading the notes before class.
    1. BEFORE is not an adverb because it alone does not answer where about the verb.
  5. You should consider reading the notes before you come to class.
    1. BEFORE is not a preposition because is not followed by an object that it links to the clause. It is followed by another clause that is subordinate in meaning to the independent clause; therefore, it is a subordinate conjunction.
  6. Alix walked down the ramp to the beach.
    1. DOWN is not an adverb because it alone does not answer where about the verb.
  7. Alix fell down.
    1. DOWN is an adverb answering where about the verb. There is no object, so it cannot be a preposition.