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PREPOSITIONS

1. Aprepositionisawordthatconnectsanounorapronountoanotherword
inthesentence.
CommonPrepositions

about behind down next to


above below during of toward
across beneath except off under
after beside for on unlike
against besides from onto until
among between in opposite unto
around beyond inside out up
as but into outside with
at by like over within
before despite near past without

twoandthreewordprepositions:alongwith,becauseof,nextto,
exceptfor,inspiteof,outofupto,insteadof,withregardto

2. Prepositionsformnounsorpronouns(plusanymodifiers)intowordgroupscalled:
"prepositionalphrases."


3. Aprepositionalphraseisagroupofwordsthatbeginswithapreposition(aword
like"in,""from,""of,""with,""for","to,"andendswithanoun,apronoun,oraword
groupservingasanoun)calledtheobjectofthepreposition.Examples:

inthehouse
fromthemarket
oftheworld
withyourpermission
forthelasttime
tomakeonemoreattempt


4. Prepositionalphrasesmodifyotherpartsofasentence.Theymaybefoundin
severalotherplacesinasentence.Examples:

(Initial)Inthebighouse,Monicafeltsafe.

(Medial)Iwaswalkingrapidly,throughthesnow,andIwasgettingcold.

(Final)Alislumpedlikeabrokendoll,afterthefight.





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5. Aprepositionalphraseusedasanintroductoryelementthatbeginsasentence
andmodifiesawordorwordsinthemainclausethatfollowsisusually
followedbyacomma.Example:

Inadebatethathaslastedcenturies,scientistsuseidentical
twinstoarguefororagainstgeneticdestiny.

6. IdiomswithPrepositions

Idiomsaregroupsofwordsthat,whenusedtogether,donotfittherulesfor
meaningorgrammar.Peoplewho"runforoffice,"forexample,neednotbetrack
stars;thisidiommeanstheyareseekingpublicoffice.Combinationsofverbsor
adjectivesandprepositionscanbeconfusingforbothnativeandnonnative
speakersofEnglish.Examplesofidiomswithprepositionsare:

abidebyarule(adecision)
differwith(aperson)
accountablefor(actions)
differfrom(somethingbeing
accountableto(aperson)
compared)
agreeonaplan(terms)
involvedin(atask)
involvedwith(aperson)
agreewith(aperson) liablefor(actions)
agreeto(aproposal) liableto(anauthority)
arguefor,against(apolicy) partfrom(aperson)
arguewith(aperson) partwith(apossession)

compareto(anunlikething) sensitiveabout(anoffense)

comparewith(athingofthe sensitiveto(anexternalcondition)

samekind) unequalin(qualities)

differaboutorover(anissue) unequalto(achallenge)

7.TheSubjectandPrepositionalPhrases

Thesubjectofasentenceisneverpartofaprepositionalphrase.Asyou
lookforthesubjectofasentence,itmayhelptocrossouttheprepositional
phrases.Forexample,lookatthefollowingsentence.Findthepreposition
andcrossouttheprepositionalphrases.Then,underlinethesubject.

Example:Astudentintheclassfellasleepduringthelonglecture.

Inandduringareprepositions.Youshouldcrossouttheprepositionalphrases
intheclassandduringthelonglecture.Whenyoudothis,youareleftwith
thesentenceAstudentfellasleep.Askyourself,Whofellasleep?The
answer,student,isthesubjectofthesentence.

ExerciseCrossouttheoneprepositionalphraseineachsentence.Then
underlinethesubjectofthesentence.

Example:Thepackofcookiesdisappearedquickly.

1.Theblueberriesinthispiearebitter.

2.Leavesfromourneighborstreecoveredourlawn.

3.Oneofmybestfriendsisacomputerprogrammer.

4.Acrowdswarmedaroundtheinjuredboy.

8.TheObjectandPrepositionalPhrases

Thenounorpronounthataprepositionconnectstoanotherwordinthe
sentenceiscalledtheobjectofthepreposition.Agroupofwords
thatbeginswithaprepositionandendswithitsobjectiscalled
aprepositionalphrase.

Example:Amaninthebuswassleepingsoundly.

Thewordsinthebus,forexample,areaprepositionalphrase.

Example:Themanwiththelongbeardlefttherestaurantquickly.

Thenounbeardistheobjectoftheprepositionwith.Theprepositional
phrasewiththelongbearddescribesthewordman.Ittellsusexactlywhich
manlefttherestaurantquickly.

Exercise:Ineachslot,insertthefollowingprepositions:of,by,with,in,
without.Useeachprepositiononce.

1.Theletterfromhisgirlfriendhadbeensprayed__________perfume.

2.Donhungrilyatetwohelpings_________frenchfries.

3.____________givinganynotice,thetenantmovedoutoftheapartment.

4.Theweedkillerquicklydestroyedthedandelions__________ourlawn.

5.Thecrates_________thebackdoorcontainoldmagazines.

9.TheAdjectiveandPrepositionalPhrases

Itseasytofindhowprepositionalphrasesareusedinsentences.Allprepositional
phrasesareusedaseitheradjectivesoradverbs,andtheadjectiveandadverb
questionswillidentifythemforyou.Forexample,prepositionalphrasesused
asadjectives:

SUBJECTVERB OBJECT
. . .
. .
.
AdjectivesAdverbs Adjectives

Whenprepositionalphrasesactasadjectives,theyansweroneofthefour
adjectivequestions:Which?Whatkind?Howmany?Whose?

However,mostadjectiveprepositionalphrasesanswerthequestionwhich?

Considerthefollowingsentence:

Thehorseinthethirdstallismine.

Inthissentence,theprepositionalphraseinthethirdstall(prepositionin;
objectstall)answersthequestionwhichhorse?Therefore,

Adjectivequestion:Whichhorse?
Answer:Thehorseinthethirdstall

ExerciseInthesentencesbelow,theverb,subject,andobjectorcomplement,if
any,havebeenmarkedforyou.Markeachadjectiveprepositionalphrase
withparenthesesandanarrow.

Example:Thesign(onthelawn)isnew.

1.Themenfromhisdepartmentwillarrivesoon.

2.AbraceletwithemeraldswasshownSaturday.

3.Theanswerstothesequestionswillbediscussedtomorrow.

4.Mr.Baxterjustchangedthescheduleofdeliveries.

5.Oneofthegraduatestudentswillhelpyou.

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6. Thepaperhasprintedmostofherletters.

7. OneofusshouldanswertheletterfromDr.Jones.

10. TheAdverbandPrepositionalPhrases

Prepositionalphrasescanalsoactasadverbsdescribingverbs:

SUBJECTVERBOBJECT
. . .
. . .
AdjectivesAdverbs Adjectives
(wordorphrase)(wordorphrase)(wordorphrase)

Whenprepositionalphrasesactasadverbs,theyansweroneofthefive
adverbquestions:When?Where?Why?How?Underwhatconditions?

Example:Westoodintherainforhours.

Thissentencecontainstwoprepositionalphrasesusedasadverbs.
Intheraintellsuswherewestood,andforhourstellsuswhenwestood.

Example:CongresspassedtheMiningActforthewrongreasons.

Adverbquestion:Passedwhy?Answer:forthewrongreasons.

PrepositionsusedasAdverbs:Keepinmindthatmanyoftheprepositions
listedonPageOnecanbeusedbythemselvesasadverbs.Forexample,the
followingsentencedoesnotcontainaprepositionalphrase:Turnoffthelight.

Offisanadverbthatdescribestheverbturn,andlightistheobjectoftheverb
(notthepreposition).Lightanswersthequestionturnwhat?,notthequestion
offwhat?

ExerciseInthesentencesbelow,theverb,subject,andobjecthavebeenmarkedfor
you.Whichofthefiveadverbquestionsdoeseachprepositionalphraseanswer?
Markeachadverbprepositionalphrasewith(parentheses)andanarrow.

Example:Thelaundryroomislocated(intheback)(ofthehouse).

1. ThemailisusuallydeliveredinthemorningonSaturdays.

2.Shelookedatthebabyforhours.

3. Inafewminutesthecandlewillburnoutcompletely.
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4.Thisweekournewteachercanceledallofhisclasses.

5.Thestudentspassedinthefinalcopiesoftheiressays.

11.IndirectObjectsandPrepositions

Anotherphrasewithahiddenprepositionistheindirectobject.
Anindirectobjectlookslikeanobjectoftheverb.

Example:Mr.Pottershowed(to)Ms.Calendarabetterway.

Anindirectobjectisreallyanobjectofthehiddenprepositionto,for,orof.

Usetheindirectobjectquestion:

Indirectobjectquestion:
Showedtowhom?

Answer:
ToMs.Calendar

Markindirectobjectslikeotheradverbphrases,with(parentheses)andanarrow.
Thenwritethehiddenprepositionaboveitsobject.(Thiswillmakeyoumore
awareofindirectobjectsinothersentences).Example:

Mr.Portershowed(Ms.Calendar)abetterway.

ExerciseThesubject,verb,andobjecthavebeenmarkedforyou.
Usetheindirectobjectquestiontoavoidmarkingindirectobjectsasobjects
oftheverb.Inserthiddenprepositions.Add(parentheses)andarrowsfor
prepositionalphrases.

Example:Theygave(him)theircompleteattention.

1.Heaskedusseveralunusualquestions.

2.HissuperiorsofferedColonelJohnsonseveraloptions.

3.Ourmathinstructorawardedeachofhisstudentshighgrades.

4.Wewrotethedistrictmanagerastrongletterofprotest.

5.Abonuswasofferedtheproductioncompanyforanearlycompletion.

6.ThepoliceofficerhandedMr.Thompsonaticketforspeeding.
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7.Sheofferedthemafairsettlement.

12.FindingSubjectsinDifficultSentences

Manysentencescontainaprepositionalphrasebetweenthesubjectandtheverb.
Example:Thecolorofmybrotherstennisshoesisbrown.Is=thelinkingverb.

Whatisthesubject?Becauseshoesisanounclosetotheverb,youmaytryto
selectshoesasthesubject;however,shoesistheobjectoftheprepositionof.

Prepositionalphrase::ofmybrotherstennisshoes

Objectquestion:Ofwhat?
Answer:shoes

Thesubjectofaverbisnevertheobjectofapreposition.Wecanavoid
mismarkingthesubjectbyfindingandmarkingtheprepositionalphrase
ofmybrotherstennisshoesfirst.Thenwecanfindthecorrectsubject
colormoreeasily.Correctlymarked,thesentencelookslikethis:

Thecolor(ofmybrotherstennisshoes)isbrown.

Resources

Aaron,JaneE.TheLittle,BrownCompactHandbook,3rded.NewYork:

AddisonWesleyEducationalPublications,Inc.,l998.

Ebest,SallyBarr,et.al.WritingfromAtoZ.MountainView,California:

MayfieldPublishingCompany,1997.

Harris,Muriel.PrenticeHallReferenceGuidetoGrammarandUsage,3rded.

UpperSaddleRiver,N.J.:PrenticeHall,1997.

Hecker,Diana.TheBedfordHandbookforWriters,4thed.Boston:Bedford

BooksofSt.MartinsPress,1994.

Neuburger,_____.Foundation:BuildingSentenceSkills,3rded.Boston:

HoughtonMifflinCompany,1989.
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Smith,R.Kent.BasicWritingSkillswithReadings.Marlton,N.J.:Townsend

Press,1995.