Prepositional Phrases

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Language Arts, Writing, Grammar

Grade 3- 5


Students will learn about prepositional phrases and practice working with them.


A phrase is a group of words without a subject and predicate. It functions as a single part of speech. A prepositional phrase consists of a preposition, a noun or pronoun that is its object, and any modifiers of the noun or pronoun.
Examples: Jon ate at home. Jon ate at the luxurious convalescent home.
Prepositional phrases function as adjectives (to modify nouns and pronouns) and as adverbs (to modify verbs, adjectives, and adverbs).
Adjectival prepositional phrases tell us more about or describe a noun or pronoun. They should be placed close to the noun or pronoun they modify. Example: The girl with long hair is coming to the party.
Adverbial prepositional phrases do the work of an adverb. They tell us more about verbs, adjectives, or adverbs. They tell how, when, or where an action occurs.
Examples: The boy kicked the ball with a lot of skill. (modifies verb kicked); Sally was rich as a queen. (modifies adjective rich); I run early in the morning. (modifies adverb early)
Teaching Strategies
Add a preposition
Have children add a suitable preposition to begin a phrase.
The cow jumped _________ the moon.
Classroom phrases
Have children indicate the positions of certain objects in the classroom. Tell them that they must answer with a prepositional phrase.
Teacher: Tom, where is the television?
Tom: near the table
Circle the phrases
As children become more confident, have them search through sentences you have prepared, or through a photocopy of a familiar story, to find and circle the prepositional phrases.
Suggest a phrase
Have children suggest prepositional phrases used as adjectives (to describe nouns or pronouns) or adverbs (to describe verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs) to complete sentences.
The bell rings at nine o'clock. (adverbial phrase modifies the verb rings ); I saw the girl with red hair. (adjectival phrase modifies the noun girl )
Complete the sentence
Provide plenty of short exercises for which children must select the more suitable phrase to complete a sentence.
The boy swam (in the pool; on the roof).
Make a sentence
Have children make up sentences that include given prepositional phrases.
before dawn We left before dawn.
across the sky A jet roared across the sky.
Opposite match
Have children match prepositional phrases with opposite meanings.
at dawn at sunset
down the steps up the stairs
Add a phrase
Have children add prepositional phrases of their own to make sentences more interesting.
We left the house. We left the house before noon.
The girl fed the puppy. The girl with red hair fed the puppy.
Where should the phrase go?
Make up a number of sentences with the prepositional phrases incorrectly placed. Have children rewrite the sentences correctly.
The jet plane was piloted by a lady with four engines. The jet plane with four engines was piloted by a lady.
How, when, or where?
Provide children with a number of sentences with adverbial prepositional phrases. Have them identify whether each tells how, when or where.
with a friendly smile (how); in the box (where); before nine o'clock (when)
Students can complete the activity sheets after you finish one or more of these activities with the class.


  • copies of the activity sheets (see the link below)

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