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Prepositional Phrases

Prepositional phrases are used to describe relationships between words in a sentence. They include a preposition and other words that tell where things are located or situated. On the bed, in the sentence below, is an example of a prepositional phrase that tells where a cat slept:

The cat slept on the bed.

Prepositions are words that show the physical or conceptual relationship of a noun or pronoun to another word in a sentence. Examples of common prepositions are:

above, behind, below, beneath, beside, between, by, during, except, in, inside, into, like, near, off, on, over, through, toward, under, upon, with

A preposition is like an engine that pulls the other words in the prepositional phrase along behind it. Here are examples of prepositional phrases within a sentence.

The hot sun is above my head.

Ashley hid behind the sofa.

The puppy came bounding into the room.

Benís locker is under mine.

Students can be introduced to prepositions and prepositional phrases during whole group activities. Post a list of prepositions in a visible spot. Walk around the classroom, placing an animal puppet or stuffed character in various places. As you hold the character in each spot, ask the students to describe where the character is located using one of the prepositions on the list. For example:

The stuffed mouse is on the desk.
The puppet is near the door.

After students have a chance to practice using prepositions orally, write sentences that include prepositional phrases on the board. Ask student to come to the board to circle the prepositions and underline the phrase that follows along behind it.

Keep the sentences simple:

The dog is underneath the desk.
The dog is over the clock.
The dog is going out the door.

Children can write sentences using prepositional phrases on their own after practicing with the whole group. Give each student a picture book with illustrations showing a character in various places. Ask them to write sentences using prepositional phrases for their book:

The wolf is behind the tree.
The pigs are inside the house.
Goldilocks is sleeping on the bed.

Ask the students to circle the preposition and underline the prepositional phrase in each sentence.

For more practice identifying prepositional phrases, check out these two books from your local library or visit Amazon.com for more information:

Under, Over, By the Clover: What is a Preposition by Brian P. Cleary. Click on the book below to view it on Amazon.com:

Around the House the Fox Chased the Mouse: A Prepositional Tale by Rick Walton. Click on the book below to view it on Amazon.com:

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