by Elaine Ernst Schneider
Objective(s): By the end of this lesson the student will be able to:
The preposition is the sixth of the eight parts of speech. Just for the record, here are all eight:
noun, pronoun, adjective, verb, adverb, preposition, conjunction, and interjection.
Let’s start with a basic definition:
Prepositions show relationships between nouns or pronouns and other words in a sentence.
Commonly used prepositions:
Aboard, about, above, across, after, against, along, among, around, at, before, behind, below, beneath, beside, between, beyond, by, down, during, except, for, from, in, into, like, of, off, on, over, past, since, through, throughout, to, toward, under, underneath, until, up, upon, with, within, without
Prepositional phrases generally contain the preposition and an object of the preposition. Objects of the preposition MUST be nouns. Here are some example:
In bed (in, preposition and bed, noun)
To Texas (to, preposition and Texas, noun)
The noun may have modifiers.
In the big bed (in, preposition / the, article / big, adjective / bed, noun)
To the grocery store (to, preposition/ the, article/ grocery, adjective / store, noun)
Subjects and verbs can NEVER be found in prepositional phrases. It is a good habit to learn to spot prepositional phases. Use parentheses to mark them; then, when you are looking for the subject and verb of the sentence, it will narrow down the search. Here is an example:
The boy by the window on the other side of the room was looking over his shoulder at the pretty girl in the hall.
The boy (by the window)(on the other side)(of the room) was looking (over his shoulder)(at the pretty girl)(in the hall.)
Once the prepositional phrases are eliminated, “The boy was looking” is left. When we studied adjectives, you learned that “the” is an article. The word “boy” is left. You have learned that “boy” is a noun. “Was looking” is the verb. Therefore, “boy” is the subject and “was looking” is the verb. We will learn more about subjects and verbs later. Learning to recognize prepositions now will help you when you have to identify subjects and verbs later.
A word about “to.” When “to” is used with a noun, it is a preposition; but when it is used with a verb, it is an infinitive. Be careful to recognize the difference. Examples:
To bed to plus noun = preposition
To sleep to plus verb = infinitive
Assignment(s) including Answer key:
Find the prepositions in the following sentences.
1. He suggested they clean the statue by the art building for their service project.
2. The book on architectural design has been on the kitchen table since this morning.
__________ ____________ _____________
3. Five dollars was required of each student who planned to go on the trip.
4. The teacher asked Tom to give an oral report about horses in the Appalachian Mountains.
5. Over the holidays, I visited the Thompson family for several days.
6. Do you have a special someone in your life?
7. She put all of her savings toward the down payment on a new house.
__________ __________ ___________
1. by, for
2. on, on, since
3. of, on (to go in an infinitive, not a prepositional phrase)
4. about, in (to give is an infinitive)
5. over, for
7. of, toward, on