A preposition is a word that begins a prepositional phrase and shows the relationship between its object and another word in the sentence. A preposition must always have an object. A prepositional phrase starts with a preposition, ends with an object, and may have modifiers between the preposition and object of the preposition.
Here is a list of common words that can be used as prepositions: about, above, across, after, against, along, among, around, at, before, behind, below, beneath, beside, besides, between, beyond, but (when it means except), by, concerning, down, during, except, for, from, in, inside, into, like, near, of, off, on, out, outside, over, past, since, through, to, toward, under, until, up, upon, with, within, and without.
These words can be used as other parts of speech. What part of speech it is depends on how it is used in that sentence. Many of the common words used as prepositions can be used as adverbs. They are prepositions if they have an object to complete them. To decide which it is, say the preposition followed by whom or what. If a noun or a pronoun answers the question, the word is a preposition.
Example: The boy stood up and ran down the street. Up what? There is no object; therefore up is not a preposition. Down what? Street answers the question; therefore, down is a preposition. Down the street is the prepositional phrase starting with the preposition down and ending with the object street with a modifier the in between.
A prepositional phrase may be used as an adjective telling which or what kind and modifying a noun or pronoun. An adjective prepositional phrase will come right after the noun or pronoun that it modifies. If there are two adjective phrases together, one will follow the other. A prepositional phrase may be used as an adverb telling how, when, where, how much, and why and modifying the verb and sometimes an adjective. Adverb prepositional phrases can come anywhere in the sentence and can be moved within the sentence without changing the meaning. Only adjective prepositional phrases modify the object of the preposition in another prepositional phrase.
Instructions: Pick out the prepositional phrases in these sentences and tell what they modify.
1. A number of javalinas appeared at the edge of the forest.
2. In the cage we saw a huge jaguar from the jungles of Brazil.
3. Everyone in the class finished the test at the same time.
4. The children were awakened by a sudden clap of loud thunder.
5. You can go to the Jazz game with us.
--For answers scroll down.
1. of javalinas modifies the subject "number"/ at the edge modifies the verb "appeared"/ of the forest modifies the object of the preposition "edge"
2. in on cage modifies the verb "saw"/ from the jungles modifies the direct object "jaguar"/ of Brazil modifies the object of the preposition "jungles"
3. in the class modifies the subject "everyone"/ at the same time modifies the verb "finished"
4. by a sudden clap modifies the verb "were awakened"/ of loud thunder modifies the object of the preposition "clap"
5. to the Jazz game/ with us modify the verb "can go"