What Is a Preposition_ Anyway by wpr1947


									                       What Is a Preposition, Anyway?
What is a preposition?

Sometimes it helps to start with examples and pictures.

Think of a preposition as any word that describes the relationship between a caterpillar and an apple. In the
picture below, all of the prepositions are underlined.

                          What is a preposition?
It is any word that describes the relationship between a caterpillar and an

Now it's definition time. Brace yourself. The following definition will sound complicated, but with the
help of some examples and a little more of an explanation, you will know exactly what these little babies

Prepositions are words that show the relationship between a noun or a pronoun and some other word or
element in the rest of the sentence.

Now you know exactly what a preposition is, right? Okay, maybe that is a little much to wrap your head
around. Let's break that down with a few example sentences.

                                         She swam across the lake.

Across connects the noun lake with the verb swam. It tells us where she swam. Do you see how the
preposition tells us the relationship between lake and swam?
Here's another example.

                                      The cupcake with sprinkles is mine.

In this example, the preposition with is showing the relationship between the noun sprinkles and the noun
cupcake. It tells us which cupcake she is referring to.

The caterpillar and apple example doesn’t work very well with the other use of prepositions: to show
relationships across time.

       In: part of day, month, year, season, in time.

                         Examples: in the morning, in May.

         On: day/date, holiday, vacation, on the weekend, on time.

                         Examples: on Christmas, on Tuesday.

         At: hour, night, noon, midnight.

                         Examples: at 3:00, at noon.

                                        Prepositional Phrases
One more ultra-important thing about prepositions is that they are always found in prepositional phrases.

A phrase is a group of words that lacks either a subject or a verb and functions as a single part of speech.

A prepositional phrase consists of a preposition plus a noun or pronoun, which is called the object of
the preposition. The object of the preposition is the first noun or pronoun following the preposition.

In our lovely apple example above, apple is the object of all of the prepositions. It is the first noun listed
after each preposition.

Just like cheese and a tortilla are the minimum ingredients for a quesadilla, a preposition and an object of
the preposition are the minimum ingredients for a prepositional phrase. And, just like we can jazz up a
quesadilla with chicken, salsa, or sour cream, we can jazz up prepositional phrases with adjectives and

The following examples of prepositional phrases include only the necessary ingredients- a preposition and
an object of the preposition:

                                                 around town

                                                  near water

                                                   with food

                                                     for her
These examples of prepositional phrases include not only the basics (a preposition and an object of the
preposition), but also one or more adjectives or adverbs.

                                             above such foolishness

                                  after this insanely wild, and crazy party

                                         up the very steep mountain

Note: When words from the preposition list are not used in prepositional phrases, they are NOT

Look at the word down in the following examples. Can you tell why one is a preposition and one is not?

                                         A. The cat ran down the tree.

                                              B. Put the gun down!

Will the real preposition please stand up?

I hope you guessed the preposition is in sentence A.

In sentence A, the preposition down is in the prepositional phrase down the tree.

In sentence B, down is not in aprepositional phrase, therefore, it is not a preposition. (In case you're
wondering, it is an adverb, but don't worry about that yet.)

To top