Wow, what a great view of Mt. Kilimanjaro. I sure would like to go to that mountain someday. I wonder what is beyond that mountain. That is a cool giraffe before Kilimanjaro.
Alright, enough about the mountain; can you guess why all those random words are bolded? It’s because they are prepositions!
One useful and easy way to think about how to use a preposition (a word in front of a noun that indicates location) is to picture a mountain and see if you can use a word to describe location relative to the mountain.
Examples: on, in, about, to, from, above, below, near….and the list goes on and on.
There is no set rule for using prepositions, but they can be useful for linking a part of a sentence to some noun. If you weren’t aware of what prepositions are or how they are used, then you have probably been unknowingly using them for years!
Just always remember if you are confused about prepositions or how to describe the location of something, think about the mountain! The mountain is your best friend!
… No, not that mountain.
Prepositional Phrases generally look like: Preposition + (option modifier) + noun (or pronoun) Examples:
- The man at work = preposition (at) + noun (work)
- The crumbs below the counter = preposition (below) + optional modifier (the) + noun (counter)
Prepositional phrases in both of these examples were acting as adjectives. They answer the question “Which one(s)?” Which man? The one at work. Which crumbs? The ones under the counter.
Prepositional phrases acting as adverbs will describe such questions as: How? When? And Where? Examples:
- Randy is still tired from the party last night.
- Tituba begged the court for mercy before her trial.
- How did Randy get tired? From the party.
- When did Tituba beg the court for mercy? Before her trial.
A prepositional phrase will NEVER contain the subject of a sentence. Even if a noun in the prepositional phrase seems like the logical subject of a verb, it isn’t! Examples:
- Both of the men flew to Chicago last Tuesday night.
Since the prepositional phrase, “of the men”, describes who flew to Chicago, it must be the subject of the sentence right? Wrong. “Both” is the subject to the verb “flew.” “Of the men” simply describes “both,”while “both” remains the subject.
- George, along with his co-workers, was very happy to see the day end after a long, busy week.
The prepositional phrase “along with” tells that there is “more to come.” It may make you think that you have a plural subject, but it will remain in whatever tense the real subject (George) is. Restructuring the sentence may help to clarify as well:
- Along with his co-workers, George was very happy to see the day end after a long, busy week.
While his co-workers are also happy, this sentence restructuring makes it clear that George is your subject as he is very happy. The co-workers in the sentence are added for further detail. See what I did there?
So, prepositions are really nothing to be scared about. Just remember the rules I’ve taught you: picture the mountain, ponder on the questions being answered, and remember the prepositional phrase will never contain the subject!
- Simmons, Robin L. “The Preposition.” Grammar Bytes! ::. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Nov. 2016.
- https://www.facebook.com/BlogABookEtc. “GoT Finale.” Fay Simone. N.p., 03 Apr. 2016. Web. 07 Nov. 2016
- “Tallest Mountain in Africa Mount Kilimanjaro.” What I Learned When RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Nov. 2016.