The Adverb and Adjective Prepositional Phrases

Last updated: April 7, 2018 at 12:44 pm

horses photoFor Revision and Reinforcement.

As you may have learned by now, a phrase is a group of words tied together in a sentence and which functions as a single part of speech: noun, adjective or adverb. Unlike a clause, a phrase has neither a subject nor a predicate. That’s how we distinguish between phrases and clauses: a clause is a group of related words in a sentence which contains both a subject and predicate; a phrase is a group of related words which contains neither subject nor predicate.

For further clarifications, a clause by itself can form a complete sentence, as in the case of simple sentences: one simple sentence = one clause. However, a phrase can never make a sentence on its own.

Phrases are classified in two ways:

1. How they are formed. Examples: prepositional phrases, infinitive phrases, gerund phrases.

2. The part of speech they serve as: noun phrases, adjective phrases, adverb phrases.

The Prepositional Phrase: preposition + object

Prepositional phrases as noun: names something in the sentence. Example: OVER THE BRIDGE is a good place to have a picnic. In the preceding sentence, the prepositional phrase “over the bridge” serves as a noun phrase, since it names a place. However, this lesson does not focus on prepositional noun phrases.

In this lesson, we will study some prepositional phrases which serve as adjectives and adverbs.

In the sentences below, the adjective and adverb prepositional phrases have been set in quotation marks. The word modified by the phrase is set in CAPS.

Note: If the word that the phrase modifies is a noun, then the prepositional phrase is further classified as an adjective prepositional phrase. If the word that the phrase modifies is a verb, adjective or adverb, then the prepositional phrase is further classified as an adverb prepositional phrase.

Study Tip: Is your head hurting already? Don’t be befuddled. Read the lesson out loud several times and it will soon become clear as day. Alternatively, download the audio (coming soon) and listen to it until you fully comprehend.


Two young horsemen WAVE a greeting “as they pass by.”

In a moment, they FLASH “past the market.”

One horse SWERVES “off the track” as it sees a moving object.

A sudden gust of wind BLOWS a newspaper “under the train.”

The leading rider GOES “on the lead.”

The troubled horseman FALLS “off the horse.”

The riderless horse GALLOPS “along the track.”

The limping victim RUNS “after the horse” and catches it.

Once more, the boys continue their ride and DISAPPEAR “beyond the hills.”

As they PASS “through the city,” the trafffic will prove troublesome.

-taken from “Working with English by Rennie and Anderson.”

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