Concerning time, location and relationships, ie. prepositions

One of my most commonly searched posts is where I discuss grammatical elements such as nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs and sentences.

Prepositions are probably one of the most common elements found in writing. One thing to understand about prepositions is that we don’t technically need them in writing. If we are grammatically analyzing a sentence, one of the first things we can do is cross out all of the prepositional phrases. But, I’m moving too fast I think. Let’s start with defining a preposition.

There are hundreds and hundreds of prepositions in the english language, What I didn’t know until I started writing this post is that prepositions can be more than one word long. Since there are so many prepositions, I can’t name them all off of the top of my head, but there are many lists of them online. Here are some examples:

  • aboard
  • about
  • above
  • absent
  • across
  • after
  • against
  • along
  • alongside
  • amid
  • amidst
  • among
  • amongst
  • around
  • as
  • aside
  • astride
  • at
  • athwart
  • atop
  • barring
  • before
  • behind
  • below
  • beneath
  • beside
  • besides
  • between
  • betwixt
  • beyond
  • but
  • by
  • circa

One quick thing to understand is that a preposition serves the function of informing the reader mainly of a location of an object, or of the relative time. For exmaple:

You should travel under (prep) the bridge and through (prep) the woods before (prep) the princess.

Under and through are related to in what direction the person should travel. Before is telling this person when they should do it.

Secondly, I want you to notice something else about my sample sentence. Every single preposition relates to a noun. YOu don’t go under the woods or through the bridge.  That is because once you place a preposition down, you must follow it with a noun. These nouns are called objects of the prepositions (OP for short.). BAck to the example:

You should travel under (prep) the bridge (OP) and through (prep) the woods (OP) before (prep) the princess (OP).

Pretty simple?

Not really. Although it looks like we have a pretty steady rhythm here of preposition, article, object of the preposition, it’s not always so simple. Take this next example:

After sunset, I walked to the park through the deserted streets.

If you analyze it we get:

After (prep) sunset (OP), I (sub) walked (verb) to (prep) the park (OP) through (prep) the deserted (adj) streets (OP).

Notice, the first prepositional phrase we don’t have an article. The second one we have a typical preposition, article, object of the preposition, and the third we have an adjective tossed in for good measure. Not only that, but “to” is sometimes a preposition, like in the example above, and sometimes an infinitive, like in, “To play”.

The beauty of prepositional phrases however, is that once you figure out where the preposition is, and where the object of the preposition is, you can usually cross everything in between out and this makes analyzing  sentences very easy.  We can take a sentence:

During rainstorms, I can jump over tall trees, from buildings, through raindrops without a scratch on me.

And if we cross out all prepositional phrases we get:

I can jump.

That sentence is much easier to analyze to make sure it is complete , am I right?

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About Abigail

I'm an elementary education major at a college in the Midwest. I might graduate as early as December '13 but more likely May '14. I write when I can. I also knit on occasion, draw, do homework and contradict teachers to make people think. :)

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