What Are Prepositional Phrases?

Prepositional phrases

Prepositional phrases begin with a preposition and end with a noun or pronoun.

Examples are:

By the lake
By the ocean
Near the window
Over the cabinet
With us
On the roof
Under the bed

There are two kinds of prepositional phrases: adjectival phrases and adverbial phrases.

Adjectival phrases

When a prepositional phrase serves as an adjective, it’s called an adjectival phrase. An adjectival phrase, as with an adjective, describes a noun or a pronoun. An adjectival phrase answers these questions: ‘Which one?’ or ‘What kind?’


  • She has a fish with red gills. (The adjectival phrase ‘with red gills’ describes the noun ‘fish’.)
  • Something in the corner of the desk was moving. (The adjectival phrase ‘in the corner’ describes the noun ‘something’; the adjectival phrase ‘of the desk’ describes the noun ‘corner’.)

You can connect two or more prepositional phrases with a coordinating conjunction like and, but, or or yet.

Adverbial phrases

An adverbial phrase is a prepositional phrase that functions as an adverb. It modifies a verb, an adjective, or an adverb. The adverbial phrase answers one of these questions: ‘Where?’ ‘When?’ ‘In what manner?’ ‘To what extent?’

  • The rock climbers arrived late at night. (The adverbial phrase ‘at night’ modifies the adverb ‘late.’)
  • We cheered with loud voices. (The adverbial phrase ‘with loud voices’ modifies the verb ‘cheered’.)
  • They fought with courage. (The adverbial phrase ‘with courage’ modifies the verb ‘fought’.)
  • The boys were thrilled at their victory. (The adverbial phrase ‘at their victory’ modifies the adjective ‘thrilled’.)

Manjusha Nambiar

Hi, I am Manjusha. This is my blog where I give English grammar lessons and worksheets.

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