Recognize a prepositional phrase when you see one. At the minimum, a prepositional phrase will begin with a preposition and end with a noun, pronoun, gerund, or clause, the "object" of the preposition. The object of the preposition will often have one or more modifiers to describe it. These are the patterns for a prepositional phrase: preposition + noun, pronoun, gerund, or clause preposition + modifier(s) + noun, pronoun, gerund, or clause Prepositional phrase
Here are some examples of the most basic prepositional phrase: At home At = preposition; home = noun. In time In = preposition; time = noun. From Richie From = preposition; Richie = noun. With me With = preposition; me = pronoun. By singing By = preposition; singing = gerund. About what we need About = preposition; what we need = noun clause .
Most prepositional phrases are longer, like these: From my grandmother From = preposition; my = modifier; grandmother = noun. Under the warm blanket Under = preposition; the , warm = modifiers; blanket = noun. In the weedy, overgrown garden In = preposition; the , weedy , overgrown = modifiers; garden = noun. Along the busy, six-lane highway Along = preposition; the , busy , six-lane = modifiers; highway = noun. By writing furiously By = preposition; writing = gerund; furiously = modifier.
Understand what prepositional phrases do in a sentence. A prepositional phrase will function as an adjective or adverb . As an adjective, the prepositional phrase will answer the question Which one? Read these examples: The book on the bathroom floor is swollen from shower steam. Which book? The one on the bathroom floor ! The sweet potatoes in the vegetable bin are green with mold.
Which sweet potatoes? The ones forgotten in the vegetable bin ! The note from Beverly confessed that she had eaten the leftover pizza. Which note? The one from Beverly !
As an adverb, a prepositional phrase will answer questions such as How? When? or Where? Freddy is stiff from yesterday's long football practice . How did Freddy get stiff? From yesterday's long football practice ! Before class , Josh begged his friends for a pencil. When did Josh do his begging? Before class ! Feeling brave, we tried the Dragon Breath Burritos at Tito's Taco Palace . Where did we eat the spicy food? At Tito's Taco Palace !
Remember that a prepositional phrase will never contain the subject of a sentence. Sometimes a noun within the prepositional phrase seems the logical subject of a verb. Don't fall for that trick! You will never find a subject in a prepositional phrase. Look at this example: Neither of these cookbooks contains the recipe for Manhattan-style squid eyeball stew.
I couldn't believe it, there was hardly anyone in the cinema, but this big man came and sat right _________ I couldn't see a thing! Behind me in front of me next to me beside me
I felt quite nervous when she said I should sit _________ on the sofa! When we were little at school, we used to sit _________ while the teacher read us a story In the floor On the floor At the floor To the floor in front of her behind her around her Next to her
Could you move your car? You're _________ of the entrance! In the way On the way At the way To the way How do you feel now you've passed? I bet you feel _________! On the top of the world Behind the world Next to the world In front of the world
I need to get some cash. Do you think we might pass a bank _________? In the way On the way At the way To the way
Pick out the prepositional phrases in these sentences, identify what they tell us, and what they modify . 1. The boys searched the beach for sand dollars. 2. The grass behind the house and near the fence is dying. 3. A deep ditch was dug near the boundary of the factory. 4. A pretty girl with brown hair and eyes sat near me at the banquet. 5. The three contestants listened carefully to each question.
for sand dollars modifies "searched" telling why
2. behind the house / near the fence modify "grass" telling which
3. near the boundary modifies "was dug" telling where / of the factory modifies "boundary" telling which
4. with brown hair and eyes modifies "girl" telling what kind / near me / at the banquet modify "sat" telling where
5. to each question modifies "listened" telling how
1. The early settlers were very careless of our forests. 2. We divided the candy among the children at the party. 3. I still live in that stucco house in the next block. 4. The rooms of the house were dark and dreary. 5. The sound of whispers came to us through the window.
of our forests modifies "careless" telling how
2. among the children modifies "divided" telling how / at the party modifies either "children" telling which or "divided" telling where
3. in that stucco house modifies "live" telling where / in the next block modifies "house" telling which
4. of the house modifies "rooms" telling which
5. of whispers modifies "sound" telling what kind / to us modifies "came" telling where / through the window modifies "came" telling how
Recognize an infinitive phrase when you see one. An infinitive phrase will begin with an infinitive [to + simple form of the verb]. It will include objects and/or modifiers . Here are some examples: To smash a spider To kick the ball past the dazed goalie To lick the grease from his shiny fingers despite the disapproving glances of his girlfriend Gloria Infinitive phrase
Infinitive phrases can function as nouns, adjectives , or adverbs . Look at these examples: To finish her shift without spilling another pizza into a customer's lap is Michelle's only goal tonight. To finish her shift without spilling another pizza into a customer's lap functions as a noun because it is the subject of the sentence. Lakesha hopes to win the approval of her mother by switching her major from fine arts to pre-med. To win the approval of her mother functions as a noun because it is the direct object for the verb hopes .
The best way to survive Dr. Peterson's boring history lectures is a sharp pencil to stab in your thigh if you catch yourself drifting off. To survive Dr. Peterson's boring history lectures functions as an adjective because it modifies way . Kelvin, an aspiring comic book artist, is taking Anatomy and Physiology this semester to understand the interplay of muscle and bone in the human body . To understand the interplay of muscle and bone in the human body functions as an adverb because it why Kelvin is taking the class.
Exercise Directions: Write down the infinitive phrase in each sentence and tell how it is used (as either a noun, adjective, or adverb). 1. You have two choices, to stay or to go. 2. Bill tried to warn them of the problem. 3. Jim had no choice except to resign from the position. 4. The child was afraid to tell the truth. 5. The teachers came to offer their service. 6. Joan had a scheme to make money. 7. I sat down to rest. 8. Ginger and her sister's plan was to see a lawyer. 9. The scouts stopped to buy some supplies. 10. The boss asked me to send the message to her brother.
1. to stay....adjective....modifies choices to go....adjective....modifies choices 2. to warn them of the problem....noun....direct object 3. to resign from the position....noun....object of preposition, except 4. to tell the truth....adverb....modifies the predicate adjective, afraid 5. to offer their service....noun....direct object 6. to make money....adjective....modifies noun, scheme 7. to rest....adverb....modifies verb, sat (answers the question "why did I sit?") 8. to see a lawyer....noun....predicate noun. 9. to buy some supplies....adverb....modifies the verb, stopped (answers the question "why did the scouts stop?") 10. to send the message to her brother....noun....direct object
Write N if the underlined infinitive or infinitive phrase acts like a noun, ADJ if it acts like an adjective, and ADV if it acts like an adverb. _____ 1. The right to vote is guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution. _____ 2. To be at least eighteen years old is one requirement. _____ 3. My sister couldn’t vote last week because she failed to go to the county clerk to register in time. _____ 4. To be a responsible citizen means being informed about election issues. _____ 5. One way to research candidates is using the Internet
Punctuate an infinitive phrase correctly. When an infinitive phrase introduces a main clause , separate the two sentence components with a comma. The pattern looks like this: infinitive phrase + , + main clause. Read this example: To avoid burning another bag of popcorn, Brendan pressed his nose against the microwave door, sniffing suspiciously with every breath.
When an infinitive phrase breaks the flow of a main clause, use a comma both before and after the interrupter. The pattern looks like this: start of main clause + , + interrupter + , + end of main clause Here is an example: Those basketball shoes , to be perfectly honest, do not complement the suit you are planning to wear to the interview.
When an infinitive phrase concludes a main clause, you need no punctuation to connect the two sentence parts. The pattern looks like this: main Clause + Ø + infinitive phrase. Check out this example: Janice and her friends went to the mall to flirt with the cute guys who congregate at the food court .
When an infinitive follows one of these eight verbs, the to is generally omitted: dare, feel, hear, help, let, make, please, see, watch o I don’t dare leave home without my medicine. o I heard him sing a song. o She helped me rake the leaves. o Let’s go to the movies. o We made the dog sit still for the photographer. o Please stand here. o I saw the dog steal the cheese from the platter. o From the beach they watched the storm approach .
Using verbs like see, hear, watch, notice, feel + infinitive emphasize experience of the complete action, from beginning to end. o I heard her tell the story to the class. (= I heard her tell the whole story.) o I heard her telling the story to the class. (= I might have come in in the middle.)
Certain verbs take infinitives (and other verbs take gerunds) agree, appear, arrange, attempt, begin, decide, expect, forget, hate, help,hope, intend, learn, love, need, offer, promise, refuse, seem, try, want, wish Certain verbs take either infinitives or gerunds, but the meaning changes depending on the choice. I remember going to high school (memories) I remember to go to work (sth to do now). I stop getting drunk (to leave a habit). I stop to have a beer ( you were doing sth else)
Prepositional Phrase or Infinitive? : Be careful not to confuse prepositional phrases beginning with to with infinitives. A prepositional phrase always ends with a noun or pronoun. An infinitive always ends with a verb . Prepositional Phrase I liked the movie from the beginning to the end . Infinitive I didn’t want the movie to end
Prepositional Phrase or Infinitive? Exercise: Identify the prepositional phrases beginning with to and the infinitives in the following sentences. 1. Pat found it hard to concentrate. 2. To win was our only desire. 3. Have you ever been to Seattle? 4. My sister likes to ski. 5. When do we go back to school?
6. My grandparents are coming to visit. 7. Who phoned in the message to headquarters? 8. Have you shown the pictures to Hillary? 9. Is it time to go? 10. Our neighbors have gone to Europe.
Locate the infinitive phrase in each sentence. Identify each as adverbial, adjectival, or nominal. Example: Bill opened the door to let me into the room. Answer: to let me into the room, adverbial 1. Because he loved French, Pierre refused to speak any other language. 2. The most important thing to do is not always obvious.
3. To keep the passageways clear, they blocked the pedestrian traffic. 4. The student had four questions to ask the instructor after class. 5. To do well in that class, you must spend hours in the library. 6. To do well in that class is my primary goal this semester. 7. Hemingway reeled the fish in slowly to keep it securely on the line. 8. We finally found the best actor to play that difficult role. 9. Jones is attempting to eat forty-five hot dogs. 10.The salesperson altered his pitch to suit each potential buyer
Exercise Directions: Write down the infinitive phrase in each sentence and tell how it is used (as either a noun, adjective, or adverb). 1.You have two choices, to stay or to go. 2.Bill tried to warn them of the problem. 3. Jim had no choice except to resign from the position. 4.The child was afraid to tell the truth. 5.The teachers came to offer their service. 6.Joan had a scheme to make money. 7.I sat down to rest. 8.Ginger and her sister's plan was to see a lawyer. 9.The scouts stopped to buy some supplies. 10.The boss asked me to send the message to her brother.
Writing a Paragraph Write a paragraph of four or more sentences that explains your answer to the question below. Include a variety of infinitives and infinitive phrases. Should fifteen-year-olds be allowed to vote?
Instructions: Identify the underlined phrase 1. Steven's book, which made Oprah's Book Club this month, is not in any store s. a. prepositional phrase b. participial phrase c. gerund phrase d. infinitive phrase 2. While preparing for the speech , Joe couldn't help but worry about his entrance. a. prepositional phrase b. participial phrase c. gerund phrase d. infinitive phrase 3. Ahmad wants to visit Quebec , but he will need to wait for his next vacation. a. prepositional phrase b. participial phrase c. gerund phrase d. infinitive phrase 4. Hoping for a miracle , the doctors continued the surgery. a. prepositional phrase b. participial phrase c. gerund phrase d. infinitive phrase 5. Our boss supports donating time to charity . a. prepositional phrase b. participial phrase c. gerund phrase d. infinitive phrase 6. Melanie hoped to find a cure for the disease, but she tried to be realistic. a. prepositional phrase b. participial phrase c. gerund phrase d. infinitive phrase 7. After the banquet , the cooks will take a well-deserved break. a. prepositional phrase b. participial phrase c. gerund phrase d. infinitive phrase
8. Joey is hoping for a change to play pool with his uncle. a. prepositional phrase b. participial phrase c. gerund phrase d. infinitive phrase 9. The dog that Sam chose from the litter seems to be healthy. a. prepositional phrase b. participial phrase c. gerund phrase d. infinitive phrase 10. Sam Smith, who recently spoke to the youth group, excels at motivating young people . a. prepositional phrase b. participial phrase c. gerund phrase d. infinitive phrase 11. Pushed beyond endurance , the runner dropped the baton. a. prepositional phrase b. participial phrase c. gerund phrase d. infinitive phrase 12. The shoes he saw in the catalogue are available down the street . a. prepositional phrase b. participial phrase c. gerund phrase d. infinitive phrase 13. The reporter crouched behind that tree got the best picture of the arrest. a. prepositional phrase b. participial phrase c. gerund phrase d. infinitive phrase
14. Keith tried supporting both teams , but his heart was with Oregon. a. prepositional phrase b. participial phrase c. gerund phrase d. infinitive phrase 15. Katrina, who resented being left at home, drew on the walls with her crayons . a. prepositional phrase b. participial phrase c. gerund phrase d. infinitive phrase 16. Arnold hoped to find an answer to the funding shortfall. a. prepositional phrase b. participial phrase c. gerund phrase d. infinitive phrase 17. Pressed for time , the agent ran the red light. a. prepositional phrase b. participial phrase c. gerund phrase d. infinitive phrase 18. His uncle thinks that working for the government is the key to stability. a. prepositional phrase b. participial phrase c. gerund phrase d. infinitive phrase 19. Richard's chance t o make his point slipped away. a. prepositional phrase b. participial phrase c. gerund phrase d. infinitive phrase 20. Is it possible that Joshua will compete against that man ? a. prepositional phrase b. participial phrase c. gerund phrase d. infinitive phrase