Prepositional Phrase: A Big List of 160+ Prepositional Phrases

Prepositional phrases are groups of words that begin with a preposition and end with a noun or pronoun. They function as adjectives or adverbs in a sentence, modifying nouns or verbs. In this lesson, we will learn what is a prepositional phrase, a prepositional phrase list, and prepositional phrase examples in English.

What is a Prepositional Phrase?

A prepositional phrase is a group of words that begins with a preposition and ends with a noun or pronoun, called the object of the preposition. The object of the preposition is the noun or pronoun that the preposition introduces. Prepositional phrases function as adjectives or adverbs in a sentence, modifying nouns or verbs.

For example:

  • The book on the table is mine. (The prepositional phrase “on the table” is modifying the noun “book.” It tells us where the book is.)
  • She is running around the block. (The prepositional phrase “around the block” is modifying the verb “running.” It tells us where she is running.)

Prepositional phrases can also include additional modifying words. For example:

  • The cat with the fluffy tail is mine. (The prepositional phrase “with the fluffy tail” is modifying the noun “cat.” It tells us which cat is being referred to.)

Prepositional phrases can be short or long, and they can consist of just a preposition and its object or include other modifiers as well. They can also be made up of more than one word, such as “because of” or “in spite of.” Prepositional phrases are an important part of English grammar and are used to show relationships between words in a sentence.

Prepositional Phrases

Here are some basic examples:

  • At school
  • In town
  • On the table
  • Off the sidewalk
  • To the beach
  • Up the road
  • With Steven
  • On balance
  • On a diet
  • By heart
  • By law
  • In good condition

Prepositional Phrase List

Every prepositional phrase is a series of words made up of a preposition and its object. The object may be a noun, pronoun, gerund, or clause. A prepositional phrase functions as an adjective or adverb.

Prepositional Phrases

AT

Here is a useful list of prepositional phrases with AT you should know.

  • at high speed
  • at risk
  • at one’s side
  • at a fraction of
  • at the outset
  • at the end
  • at sight
  • at the double
  • at one time
  • at a discount
  • at a distance
  • at a glance
  • at a guess
  • at a loose and
  • at a loss
  • at a low ebb
  • at a price
  • at a rate of
  • at a speed of
  • at a standstill
  • at all costs
  • at all events
  • at issue
  • at large
  • at least
  • at length
  • at liberty
  • at most
  • at night
  • at noon
  • at one’s leisure
  • at one’s request
  • at peace
  • at war
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Prepositional Phrases

OUT

List of some common prepositional phrases with OUT in English.

  • out of fashion
  • out of print
  • out of step
  • out of breath
  • out of context
  • out of control
  • out of curiosity
  • out of jealousy
  • out of date
  • out of doors
  • out of duty
  • out of hand
  • out of ideas
  • out of one’s mind
  • out of order
  • out of pity
  • out of place
  • out of practice
  • out of reach
  • out of respect for
  • out of sight
  • out of spite
  • out of stock
  • out of the ordinary
  • out of the question
  • out of work

IN

This is a useful list of prepositional phrases – IN for ESL Learners.

  • in time
  • in demand
  • in of focus
  • in an uproar
  • in answer to
  • in anticipation of
  • in arrears
  • in danger
  • in debt
  • in decline
  • in defense of
  • in detail
  • in disgrace
  • in disguise
  • in fact
  • in fairness to
  • in favor of
  • in fear of
  • in flames
  • in flower
  • in full
  • in future
  • in gear
  • in general
  • in good condition
  • in good faith
  • in hand
  • in harmony (with)
  • in haste
  • in hiding
  • in high spirits
  • in honor of
  • in horror
  • in ink

BY

  • by chance
  • by the name of
  • by luck
  • by accident
  • by air
  • by sea
  • by land
  • by all accounts
  • by all means
  • by any standard
  • by appointment
  • by birth
  • by check
  • by coincidence
  • by courtesy of
  • by definition
  • by degrees
  • by design
  • by dint of
  • by far
  • by force
  • by hand
  • by heart
  • by law
  • by marriage
  • by means of
  • by mistake
  • by my watch
  • by nature
  • by no means
  • by request
  • by rights
  • by sight

List of Prepositional Phrases

ON

  • on watch
  • on schedule
  • on the record
  • on the road
  • on oath
  • on pain of
  • on the air
  • on balance
  • on a diet
  • on a journey
  • on a trip
  • on a large scale
  • on a small scale
  • on a pension
  • on a regular basis
  • on a spree
  • on account of
  • on an expedition
  • on an island
  • on approval
  • on average
  • on bail
  • on behalf of
  • on board
  • on business
  • on order
  • on remand
  • on show
  • on strike
  • on suspicion of
  • on the agenda
  • on the brink of
  • on the dot
  • on the edge of

Types of Prepositional Phrases

Adjective Prepositional Phrases

Adjective prepositional phrases modify or describe a noun or a pronoun. They act as adjectives in a sentence. These phrases answer the questions “which one?” or “what kind?”.

Here are some examples of adjective prepositional phrases:

  • The book on the shelf is mine.
  • The girl in the red dress is my sister.
  • The house with the blue door is for sale.

As you can see from the examples, the prepositional phrases “on the shelf”, “in the red dress”, and “with the blue door” modify the nouns “book”, “girl”, and “house”, respectively.

Adverb Prepositional Phrases

Adverb prepositional phrases modify or describe a verb, an adjective, or an adverb. They act as adverbs in a sentence. These phrases answer the questions “how?”, “when?”, “where?”, “why?”, or “to what extent?”.

Related  Prepositional Phrases with IN: 65+ Useful Prepositional Phrases - In

Here are some examples of adverb prepositional phrases:

  • She walked to the store.
  • He was happy with his new car.
  • The dog barked at the mailman.

In these examples, the prepositional phrases “to the store”, “with his new car”, and “at the mailman” modify the verbs “walked”, “was”, and “barked”, respectively.

Functions of Prepositional Phrases

Direction and Location

Prepositional phrases can indicate direction and location. For instance, in the sentence “She walked to the park,” the prepositional phrase “to the park” shows the direction of the action. Examples of prepositions that indicate direction and location include “at,” “in,” “on,” “under,” “beside,” “over,” and “through.”

Time

Prepositional phrases can also indicate time. For example, in the sentence “I will meet you after class,” the prepositional phrase “after class” shows the time of the action. Examples of prepositions that indicate time include “before,” “after,” “during,” “since,” and “until.”

Means and Agency

Prepositional phrases can indicate means and agency. For instance, in the sentence “The book was written by a famous author,” the prepositional phrase “by a famous author” shows the agency of the action. Examples of prepositions that indicate means and agency include “by,” “with,” and “through.”

Reason and Purpose

Prepositional phrases can also indicate reason and purpose. For example, in the sentence “He went to the gym for his health,” the prepositional phrase “for his health” shows the purpose of the action. Examples of prepositions that indicate reason and purpose include “for,” “because of,” and “due to.”

Prepositional phrases can be complex and have multiple functions. It is important to understand the different functions of prepositional phrases to use them effectively in writing and speaking.

Examples of Prepositional Phrases

Adverbial Prepositional Phrase: These prepositional phrases modify verbs and answer questions like how, when, where, or why. For example:

  • We went to the beach during the summer.
  • She sings with great passion.
  • He ran away from the dog.

Adjectival Prepositional Phrase: These prepositional phrases modify nouns and answer questions like which one, what kind, or how many. For example:

  • The book on the shelf is mine.
  • The girl with the red hat is my sister.
  • The man in the black suit is the CEO.

Compound Prepositional Phrase: These prepositional phrases consist of two or more prepositions. For example:

  • He drove through the tunnel under the river.
  • She put the vase on the table in front of the window.
  • They walked across the field toward the sunset.

Participial Prepositional Phrase: These prepositional phrases contain a participle and function as an adjective. For example:

  • The boy sitting on the bench is my friend.
  • The woman wearing a red dress is the hostess.
  • The car parked in the garage is mine.

Infinitive Prepositional Phrase: These prepositional phrases contain an infinitive and function as a noun, adjective, or adverb. For example:

  • To learn English is my goal. (noun)
  • She has a lot of books to read. (adjective)
  • He went to the store to buy some milk. (adverb)
Related  Prepositional Phrases with OUT: A Short List of 26 Popular Prepositional Phrases - Out

Common Mistakes with Prepositional Phrases

Using the Wrong Preposition

One of the most common mistakes with prepositional phrases is using the wrong prepositions. English has many prepositions, and they can be tricky to master. For example, some prepositions are used for time (e.g., at, in, on), while others are used for location (e.g., at, in, on, under, above). It’s important to pay attention to which preposition is correct in each situation.

Using Too Many Prepositional Phrases

Another mistake is using too many prepositional phrases in a sentence. While prepositional phrases can add important details to a sentence, using too many can make the sentence confusing and difficult to follow. It’s important to use prepositional phrases sparingly and only when necessary.

Misplacing Prepositional Phrases

Misplacing prepositional phrases is another common mistake. A prepositional phrase should be placed as close as possible to the noun or pronoun it modifies. For example, in the sentence “The book on the shelf is mine,” the prepositional phrase “on the shelf” modifies the noun “book” and should be placed directly after it.

Using Prepositions as Conjunctions

Finally, some learners may mistakenly use prepositions as conjunctions. While both prepositions and conjunctions can connect words and phrases, they are used differently. For example, in the sentence “I went to the store and bought some milk,” the conjunction “and” connects two independent clauses. Using a preposition instead, such as “I went to the store for buying some milk,” would be incorrect.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I identify prepositional phrases in a sentence?

To identify a prepositional phrase, look for a group of words that begins with a preposition and ends with an object. The object can be a noun, pronoun, or gerund. For example, in the sentence “The cat is on the table,” the prepositional phrase is “on the table.”

What is the function of a prepositional phrase?

A prepositional phrase functions as an adjective or an adverb in a sentence. As an adjective, it modifies a noun or pronoun. As an adverb, it modifies a verb, adjective, or adverb.

What are some examples of prepositional phrases used as adverbs?

Some examples of prepositional phrases used as adverbs are:

  • She went to the store in a hurry.
  • The dog barked at the mailman every morning.
  • He drove to work with his windows rolled down.

What is a prepositional verb phrase and how is it used?

A prepositional verb phrase is a combination of a verb and a preposition that functions as a single unit. It can be used in different tenses and forms to express different meanings. For example, “look forward to” is a prepositional verb phrase that expresses anticipation or excitement.

What are some common prepositions used in prepositional phrases?

Some common prepositions used in prepositional phrases are:

  • in
  • on
  • at
  • by
  • with
  • to
  • from
  • of

Last Updated on November 7, 2023

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