What is a preposition?

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What is a prepositional phrase?
What is the object of the preposition?
What is a prepositional phrase example?

A preposition is a word that shows you the relationship of nouns or actions to each other. It is usually related to space or time. The list of prepositions is long, but includes the following.

These are the preposition of space:

  • On
  • In
  • About
  • Above
  • Across
  • By
  • Next to
  • Below
  • Beneath
  • Beyond
  • In front of
  • Inside
  • In place of
  • Beside

These are the prepositions of time:

  • Throughout
  • Until
  • After
  • Before
  • While
  • During

For a pretty complete list, check this web page from Grammar Bytes: http://www.chompchomp.com/terms/preposition.htm

 

Prepositional Phrases

A prepositional phrase is a phrase that shows one of these space or time relationships. Most phrases that begin with one of the prepositions above is considered a prepositional phrase. Each of them give some information as to the relationship between two things. Examples of phrases include:

  • Before breakfast
  • In the box
  • Beside the man
  • While she was studying
  • In place of the hospital
  • Beyond the river

If you put these in a sentence, they will show the spatial or temporal relationship, like “I brush my teeth before breakfast”. The two actions are brushing teeth and having breakfast. For “the frog is in the box”, you know the relationship between the frog and the box.

 

Objects of the Preposition

An object of the preposition is the noun or verb that is included in the prepositional phrase. This is the thing that the subject of the sentence is being compared to. You can identify them by isolating the prepositional phrases and asking what, who, where, etc. something is compared to.

Take the example “I brush my teeth before breakfast”. The prepositional phrase is “before breakfast”, with before as the preposition. You can ask “Before what?” The answer, breakfast, is the object of the preposition. That is what the action of brushing your teeth is being compared to.

Another example is: In place of the hospital, the construction company was building a factory. The prepositional phrase is “in place of the hospital”, with “in place of” being the preposition. The hospital is the object of the preposition.

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