Recognize a preposition when you see one.Prepositions are the words that indicate location. Usually, prepositions show this location in the physical world. Check out the three examples below:
The puppy is on the floor.
The puppy is in the trash can.
The puppy is beside the phone.
At midnight, in the spring, and during the marathon all show location in time.At midnight, Jill craved mashed potatoes with grape jelly.In the spring, I always vow to plant tomatoes but end up buying them at the supermarket.During the marathon, Iggy's legs complained with sharp pains shooting up his thighs.
Because there are so many possible locations, there are quite a few prepositions. Below is the complete list.
by means of
in addition to
in back of
in case of
in front of
in place of
in spite of
on top of
* But is very seldom a preposition. When it is used as a preposition, but means the same as except—Everyone ate frog legs but Jamie. But usually functions as a coordinating conjunction.
Understand how to form a prepositional phrase.
Prepositions generally introduce prepositional phrases. Prepositional phrases look like this:
Here are some examples:preposition + optional modifiers + noun, pronoun, or gerund
At schoolAt = preposition; school = noun.
According to usAccording to = preposition; us = pronoun.
By chewingBy = preposition; chewing = gerund.
Under the stoveUnder = preposition; the = modifier; stove = noun.
In the crumb-filled, rumpled sheetsIn = preposition; the, crumb-filled, rumpled = modifiers; sheets = noun.
Realize that some prepositions also function as subordinate conjunctions.
Some prepositions also function as subordinate conjunctions. These prepositions are after, as, before, since, and until. A subordinate conjunction will have both a subject and a verb following it, forming a subordinate clause.
Look at these examples:
If you find a noun [with or without modifiers] following one of these five prepositions, then all you have is a prepositional phrase. Look at these examples:After Sam and Esmerelda kissed goodnightAfter = subordinate conjunction; Sam, Esmerelda = subjects; kissed = verb.
As Jerome buckled on the parachuteAs = subordinate conjunction; Jerome = subject; buckled = verb.
Before I eat these frog legsBefore = subordinate conjunction; I = subject; eat = verb.
Since we have enjoyed the squid eyeball stewSince = subordinate conjunction; we = subject; have enjoyed = verb.
Until your hiccups stopUntil = subordinate conjunction; hiccups = subject; stop = verb.
After the killer calculus testAfter = preposition; the, killer, calculus = modifiers; test = noun.
As a good parentAs = preposition; a, good = modifiers; parent = noun.
Before dinnerBefore = preposition; dinner = noun.
Since the breakupSince = preposition; the = modifier; breakup = noun.
Until midnightUntil = preposition; midnight = noun.