Prepositional Phrases Meaning and Examples

What are Prepositional Phrases (Meaning and Examples)?

Prepositional Phrases are a type of phrase that contain a preposition, its object, and any modifiers of the object. Prepositions are words that link nouns, pronouns, and phrases to other words in a sentence. Prepositional Phrases can also act as adjectives or adverbs.

Examples of Prepositional Phrases include “on the roof,” “without hesitation,” and “in spite of their objections.” Prepositional phrases help give detail to a sentence by describing when something happened, where it happened, why it happened, or how it happened.

Prepositions can be used to make sentences more descriptive and powerful for readers or listeners.

Prepositional Phrases Rules

Learning these four critical rules when using prepositional phrases will help communication become clearer and easier. With these four rules firmly entrenched in one’s grammar skillset, any English speaker can properly construct sentences with ease!

ObjectsFirst, always make sure the preposition has an object following it – otherwise, you may end up with a sentence that is barely comprehensible or even incorrect.
PlacementSecond, prepositions should not be used at the beginning of a sentence; instead, include them later as part of a larger phrase.
Reading AloudThird, avoid ending a sentence with a preposition – read your sentence aloud if you need help determining where it feels right.
ContextLastly, take care to choose the appropriate preposition based on purpose and context; using more than one can lead to confusing sentences.
Prepositional Phrases Rules and Explanations Table
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Prepositional Phrases Examples

Prepositional phrases are an important part of language, helping to explain relationships between words in a sentence. Prepositional phrases examples include:

  • “Behind the tree”
  • “Inside the box”
  • “On the roof”

In each case, the preposition helps us to understand where something is in relation to something else. Prepositional phrases create more interesting sentences with more depth and detail than general statements alone. Prepositions can be expanded upon by adding adjectives as well; for instance, changing “behind the tree” to “behind the lush green tree” can show how unique and special that tree is. Prepositional phrases add facts while also making our writing more descriptive and enjoyable to read.

Prepositional Phrases Exercises with Answers


  • Readers will find ___ detailed descriptions.
  • The children ate outside ___.
  • His __ views caused panic among the legislators.
  • Across the river lives a ___.
  • He gives advice ___!


  • Readers will find in the book detailed descriptions.
  • The children ate outside under the stars.
  • His ill-informed views caused panic among the legislators.
  • Across the river lives a family of four.
  • He gives advice beyond his years!

Prepositional Phrases List

The following examples of sentences provide preposition specifiers you can use to form your own standalone sentences:

Across the streetShe is running across the street.
In theThe car is parked in the garage.
Reflects uponHis job application reflects upon him.
Made ofThe trophy for first place is made of gold.
Out ofA bird flew out of the window.
Prepositional Phrases List Table
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Advice for ESL Students & English Language Learners

Prepositional phrases are among the most useful tools for ESL students and English language learners to pick up quickly. Prepositions are incredibly versatile and can be used in almost any sentence structure, making them a great foundation for learning both grammar and vocabulary. Prepositions can easily be found in all forms of text, whether it’s written or spoken in casual conversations, making them essential to any understanding of English.

Taking time to practice prepositional phrases can be one of the most efficient ways for ESL students and English language learners to improve their mastery of the language. Prepositional phrases can offer insight into the basic building blocks of English that make all the difference – so don’t underestimate their value.

Additionally, it is important for learners to properly understand compound prepositions and forms of prepositions.

Common Mistakes Made by English Learners

Prepositional phrases are among the most common mistakes made by English learners, as many languages do not make the same distinctions between preposition usage. Prepositions usually refer to facts about time, space, and direction when used in a sentence.

Even with the rules out there, it is easy to fall into traps of misusing prepositions as they so often can be swapped out depending on context and meaning. Prepositions are one of those quirks that come with learning English that take quite a bit of practice and study to truly master!

Common Mistakes:

1. Incorrect Tense

Why it Happens

Not having a firm grasp on correct preposition usage can confuse your statements. This can cause you to use the wrong prepositions and misconstrue your message.

Correct Use

When speaking English, you would use a preposition that reflects the subject in question. Keep context in mind when selecting your prepositions.

2. Lack of prepositions

Why it Happens

The easiest mistake is leaving out determiners when needed. Failing to use these in phrases can lead others to misinterpret what you are trying to express.

Correct Use

Prepositions join words to a person, place, or thing – for example, ‘the cat meowed’ or ‘I love pasta’.

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3. Inconsistency

Why it Happens

People forget how they described something before and change the context in a contradictory manner. This confuses the reader.

Correct Use

Be sure that your prepositions remain consistent throughout your writing. There should be no sudden shifts from ‘they’ to ‘this’ unless there was a clear shift in the thing being described.

4. Incorrect Usage

Why it Happens

You don’t know which prepositions to use, so you use too many and it confuses the statement.

Correct Use

Using too many prepositions can make your writing sound monotonous and can also lead to viewers losing interest. Therefore it is important to focus on expressing yourself clearly and effectively with them.

Tips to Avoid Common Mistakes:

Prepositional phrases can add an extra layer of complexity to written English. It is important to know when to use them and how they should be used.

  • Common mistakes people make when using prepositions include leaving out the article before the preposition, placing too many prepositions in a sentence, and misusing certain types of prepositions like ‘in’ and ‘on’.
  • To avoid these common mistakes it is best to revise your writing for accuracy, read over what you have written and break it down into clauses so you can easily identify each preposition.
  • Also, consult grammar resources or even a friend if needed.

If done correctly, prepositional phrases will bring clarity and expression to your written language.

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Learning Prepositional Phrases Strategies and Best Practices

Prepositional phrases are an essential part of writing in any language. Prepositional phrases are sets of words beginning with a preposition and followed by a noun, pronoun, or gerund.

With a proper understanding of the function, structure, and use of prepositional phrases, one can enhance their writing in a big way. Learning strategies and best practices for using prepositional phrases can help to develop strong writing skills.

Preposition vocabulary and structure should be studied thoroughly with exercises completing sentences, recognizing correct usage, and revising incorrect prepositions usage in sentences being incredibly helpful for learners. Preposition quizzes are a great way to invigorate learning but the best practice is always to combine study and practice with hands-on activities like sentence composition utilizing Prepositional phrases.

With patience, dedication, and continued practice, one can master Prepositional Phrases in no time! Keep reading for more useful tips:

Tip 1: Study a List

Why it helps

Learning the various forms and using them properly in speaking and writing is easier than it seems with daily practice. A list can simplify this process and make it seem less daunting.

Daily Life Example

The best way to learn to use determiners correctly is to study a list of prepositions and their usages, and then practice writing sentences with them.

Tip 2: Practice Reading

Why it helps

Exposing yourself to prepositions hidden between other words can help you identify them faster and with more accuracy.

Daily Life Example

To ensure that you understand how frequently a type of preposition should be used it’s important to practice reading with them as well, so the meanings become clear. So keep a book of your choice on hand and highlight every preposition you come across.

Tip 3: Everyday Conversations

Why it helps

By applying the prepositions exercise to everyday conversations, you’ll find these words easy to remember and use in the near future.

Daily Life Example

Take your time when speaking to people. Take note of the prepositions they use, and try and repeat them back in different contexts. You can also do this from the comfort of your home by recording yourself or using an AI assistant.

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Prepositional Phrases Frequently Asked Questions

Prepositional phrases are essential elements of the English language and are used to indicate certain relationships between words in a sentence. Prepositional phrase examples help explain where, when, why, who, or how something happens. They always start with a preposition, such as ‘in’, ‘at’, ‘on’, or ‘over’, and they often end with an object (nouns and pronouns).

Prepositional phrases can give us crucial information about how an entire phrase is structured and can be used to emotionally connect the reader to the text. Prepositional phrases can also help create more clarity, giving the reader context by showing relationships between different parts of speech.

Prepositional Phrases, also known as Prepositional Expressions, are a set of words that form phrases in a sentence. This can help clarify the relationships between different objects and concepts by connecting them. To identify Prepositional Phrases, it is important to look for the preposition in the phrase – such as “of”, “to”, or “in”.

Prepositions always take an object such as nouns or pronouns as part of their structure — for example, “about her” or “on Tuesday”. Prepositional Phrases in sentences can also be used alongside other words and phrases such as adverbs and adjectives – these combined Prepositional Expressions help to bring clarity to the meaning of sentences.

Prepositional phrases are key components of sentence structure, as they are oftentimes necessary for providing clarity and accuracy. Prepositions are adjective phrases, and refer to words that take on specific meanings when paired with other words; when those words are followed by nouns or pronouns, prepositional phrases can be formed. An example would be the phrase “on fire,” which is a preposition “on” followed by a noun, “fire.”

These adjectival phrases generally come in handy when referring to physical positions or directions, especially when describing an event or motion.

Some common prepositional phrases include beside, after, inside, through, beyond, and despite.

To expand on this list of phrases even further one could add out of, at night, under the bridge, up the stairs, in front of me, across the street, and upwards of twenty others depending on context. Prepositional phrases play an important role in crafting quality complete sentences and should always be used intentionally.

The 7 prepositions that you should know and understand include “on,” “at,” “in,” “for,” “of,” “with,” and “by.” Prepositions can be used to indicate a location in both space and time, such as being ‘under the tree’ or at ‘4:00 pm on Saturday.’

These adverbial phrases also allow us to show how one thing is related to another by providing detailed context about an object of the sentence. For example, when you say ‘The book by Stephen King’ you are adding context about the origin of the book – whom it was written by.

Prepositional Phrases also add flow and readability making our communication more engaging for our listeners and readers.

A prepositional phrase is a group of words that begins with a preposition and ends with a noun or pronoun. Common prepositions are usually single words like ‘at’, ‘on’, ‘in’, ‘after’, or ‘between’ but can also be phrases like ‘according to’ or ‘in spite of’.

Prepositional noun phrases can provide extra details to enhance the meaning of a sentence by providing detail that often cannot be expressed without the preposition. Prepositional phrases can also be used to replace adjectives or adverbs in expressing certain qualities such as “I’m looking forward to summer” versus saying “I’m excited for summer”. Prepositional phrases make our language much more descriptive and expressive for everyone.

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