Prepositional phrases

In the dead of the night the cats crept silently about the house. // At the end of the rainbow is a pot of gold. // Under the old holly bush is where the treasure lies.

Are all example sentences containing prepositional phrases (underlined) and the words ‘in’, ‘at’ and ‘under’ are the prepositions.

Guess what? Prepositional phrases can be one of two types. (So not so hard to remember these!)

Either they are adjectival phrases or they are adverbial phrases.

My examples above are all prepositional adjectival phrases. But I bet you’re asking…

Why are they that type and not adverbial? How does he know?

Well, here’s the secret to remembering:

  • adjectival phrases modify or describe nouns
  • adverbial phrases modify verbs

See I told you this one was easy!!

Night, rainbow and holly bush are all nouns, therefore those prepositional phrases are adjectival types.

Here’s a couple of adverbial types so you can see the difference:

  • She hid her bag under her jacket. (So hid is a verb followed by under which is a preposition and the whole thing is an adverbial phrase)
  • The teacher said, ‘come inside now’. (come = verb, inside = preposition = prepositional adverbial phrase)

Try these out for yourself in your writing as it is only by having a go that you’ll start to improve the way you write. Practice, practice, practice…

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