What is a Preposition?

It is impossible to talk without using a preposition. There are things that are used in everyday conversations. Though they are used regularly, prepositions are usually misused and also misunderstood. This is quite common among individuals whose first language is not English. In this piece, we are going to delve into everything you need to know about prepositions.

What is a Preposition?

The main purpose of a preposition is to inform the reader when and where there is an object that is related to something else. It connects nouns and pronouns that are used as the object to other words that fall within a given sentence. A preposition might be used to describe a well a certain action has been done, or it can be used to state the movement, possession, or position of an object within a given sentence.

Prepositions bind words together so that a meaningful sentence is achieved. Therefore, they deserve to be credited for being integral parts of sentences. With prepositions, your sentences are not only meaningful but also enjoyable to read.

Example: The narrator practised behind the curtains.

The sentence above can be broken down to see that the noun curtain is connected to “practised” using the word “behind.” Therefore, it helps us to have an understanding of where the narrator practised.

Example: The teacher has qualms concerning the student’s output.

If we break down the sentence, we can see that the student’s output has been connected to the teacher’s qualm using “concerning.” Some of the prepositions that are usually used include in, on, for, beyond, before, at, below, along, after, above, within, through, and toward.

What is a prepositional Phrase?

When a group of words that have their own unique ideas is started with a preposition, then what we have is known as a prepositional phrase. In a prepositional phrase, you have the object of the preposition, and the preposition itself. The object of the preposition normally contains a pronoun or a noun. As a writer, it is important to know how to identify prepositional phrases in a sentence. Make sure that the object that falls within the prepositional phrase is not confused with the direct object of the verb.

There are a few examples below to help you understand what is meant by a prepositional phrase.

Example: My Dog Jumped over the fence.

In the sentence above, the over the fence serves as the prepositional phrase. It is also possible to dismantle the prepositional phrase so that we are left with “over” as the main proposition of the sentence. We will see that “fence” forms the object of the preposition, while “the” is the modifier.

Example: Walked to the forest near the mountains

If we look closely at the sentence, we will identify two prepositional phrases. “near the mountains.” and “to the forest.” In the second phrase, “to” serves as the preposition, while “forest and “the” are the objects and also the modifier of the preposition. In the first prepositional phrase, “near” serves as the preposition, while “mountain, and the,” are the objects and also the modifier of the preposition.

What is a Particle?

Now this section is quite tricky. Usually, there are some words that look more like prepositions, but they are not. They are known as particles. They are more similar in appearance and are in most cases used as prepositions. However, particles do not, in any way, form a relationship between the rest of the sentence and the object. Particles can either be used as phrasal verbs or infinitive verbs. Look at the few examples below.

Example: His mother will look after his son while he’s away

In the example above, “look after” serves as the phrasal verb. It actually means to take care of something. Therefore, in this case, the word “after” is the particle, and it is a part of the phrasal verb. It cannot be called a preposition as it does not introduce any prepositional phrase.

Example: She likes to be the butterfly in the play.

In the example above, it can be deduced that the phrase “to be” is the infinitive form of the verb. However, the word ‘to’ does not bring about the prepositional phrase, which is why it is not employed as the preposition in the sentence.

There is a need to illustrate the difference between particles and differ. Therefore, let us take a look at more examples.

Example: Do not give in to temptation.

Example: You look in the bag.

In the first example above, the word “in” has been used as a particle. It is the one that forms the phrasal verb “give in,” and it means to surrender. In the second example, the term was employed as a preposition. It brings out the relationship between “the bag,” which is the object, and the verb “look.”

Example: She Bought Him Flowers to make up for her mistakes

Example: Look up at the sky and appreciate the beauty of the stars

In the first example above, it is the word “up” that forms the phrasal verb “make up,” and it means to compensate for something. Therefore, it does not bring about any form of relationship in the sentence. In the second instance above, the word “up” is used to link the verb “look” to the object “to the sky.”

The Final Thought

Prepositions are integral parts of sentences because they are used to express and show how things are done or have been done. To the readers and listeners, they provide directions “look up at the sky,” and the timing, “after,” the sun has gone down. Bats show up to catch their bugs for breakfast and establish indirect and direct objects of the verbs (I am contacting you about your recent grant proposal). Prepositions are essential since they are used every day in common language. Therefore, as a reader or speaker, or writer, it is vital to learn how to use the words correctly to make your grammar stand out.

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