Prepositional Phrases


A prepositional phrase begins with a prepositions and ends with an object.

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An adjectival prepositional phrase that is typically placed after the noun or pronoun it describes.  An adverbial prepositional phrase that is placed after a noun is often a misplaced modifier; misplaced modifiers cause confusion.

             I bought a pack of gumwith my extra change.         With my extra change is a misplaced modifier

                                                                                       because it describes gum.

             With my extra change, I bought a pack of gum.       This sentence is correct. 


Adverbial prepositional phrases that begin with to and for are typically more flexible.  The following sentences are all clear. 

            I bought a pack of gum for my brother.

          For my brother, I bought a pack of gum.

          The quarterback threw the ball to the receiver.    

          To the receiver, the quarterback threw the ball.

Notice that in the above sentences, the object of the preposition can become an indirect object instead.     

            I bought my brother a pack of gum. 

          The quarterback threw the receiver the ball.

Prepositional phrases that begin with from can also be flexible.  The following sentences are all clear.

         Kip received an e-mail from his mother.

         From his mother, Kip received an e-mail.

         Lucia drove to Minneapolis from Miami.

         From Miami, Lucia drove to Minneapolis.

         Lucia drove from Miami to Minneapolis.

         To Minneapolis, Lucia drove to Miami.

         


As the above examples suggest, a prepositional phrase that describes a verb can come in a variety of places.  An adverbial prepositional phrase can come after the verb it describes, before the verb it describes, or at the beginning of the sentence.

       Julio sang in a deep and loud voice

        In a deep and loud voice, Julio sang.      A prepositional phrase that begins a sentences must be followed by a comma.

        Julio, in a deep and loud voice, sang.     A prepositional phrase that comes before a verb must be set off by commas.