Preposition phrases

A preposition phrase has a preposition as its Head word, usually followed by a noun phrase. Here are some examples of preposition phrases, showing a preposition + noun phrase sequence:

  • in + boxes
  • in + the boxes
  • in + the big boxes under the table

The noun phrase can be a single word or a string of words, as the examples show.

Here are some examples of prepositional phrases in sentences:

  • But they live [under the sea] you know. [S1A-055 #225]
  • The British obsession [with class] is quite remarkable. [S2B-035 #83]
  • [After much consideration] we regret that we are unable to offer you the post [on this occasion]. [W1B-019 #74]
  • [[In the 69th minute] Wallace broke clear [in the Liverpool half] and raced [towards the penalty area]. [W2C-004 #40]

In some examples, we find complex prepositions made up of more than one word, like because of, on top of,  instead of:

  • Nobody could hear us [because of the noise]. [S1B-046 #32]
  • Catherine placed her aunt's left hand [on top of the right]. [W2F-010 #62]
  • We use the lift [instead of the stairs]. [W2B-022 #11]

Note that 'preposition phrase' is not a statutory term in the National Curriculum, i.e. it does not have to be taught at KS1 and KS2.

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