A preposition is basically a word that can’t stand alone because it wouldn’t make sense by itself. So, examples of a preposition would be “in“, “under“, or “around“. You notice these words can’t stand by themselves because they don’t make sense by themselves.

There’s not enough information there. So, that’s where the prepositional phrase comes into play.

The next lesson: Prefixes, Suffixes, and Root Words, both lessons are included in Practice Tests.

The following transcript is provided for your convenience.

A prepositional phrase might look like “in the tree” or “around the corner“.

So, right here, “in” would be a preposition, and “tree” is what we call the object of the preposition, because right here, if we just have the preposition “in“, we’re wondering “in” what? It’s “in the tree“.

Or, “around the corner“. “Around” is a preposition, and “corner” is the object of the preposition. We don’t know what’s “around“. It’s “around the corner”.

So, prepositional phrases just come in sentences, oftentimes at the end of a sentence.

So, we could say:

The squirrel is in the tree.”

Here, again, “in” is the preposition, “tree” is the object of the preposition, and “squirrel” is the subject of the sentence.

So, if we just have the preposition, this kind of leaves us hanging. We’re wondering the squirrel is in what? So, “tree” is the object of the preposition because it tells what the squirrel is in.

So, there are lots of prepositions out there, way too many for me to name right now, but I’m going to teach you a trick to help you remember prepositions.

Alright. There’s a tree I drew, that’s about the best I can do, but think about a tree and a squirrel. Okay, think about all the things a squirrel can do when near a tree, and that’ll help you remember prepositions, because a squirrel can be under a tree, when “under” is a preposition. It could be in a tree, or around a tree, or upon a tree, or behind a tree, beside a tree, next to a tree, beneath a tree, over a tree, toward a tree, past a tree, or by a tree. So, all those words I listed – “by“, “past“, “toward” – those are all prepositions.

And so, by remembering a squirrel and its relationship to a tree, it may seem kind of silly, but that can help you remember many of the prepositions.

Practice tests help you remember. Take this mini-test to solidify your memory.
Mini-test: Prepositions 

1. Which of the following words is not a preposition? (Remember the squirrel)
2. What’s the grammar term for house in the following sentence?

The cat ran under the house and wouldn’t come out.
Identify the gerund in this sentence:

For me, playing Angry Birds was becoming an obsession.

Identify the infinitive in this sentence:

When I got home from school I wanted to run straight to my computer.

Identify the participle in this sentence:

I wouldn’t stop playing until I got a winning score.


The next lesson: Prefixes, Suffixes, and Root Words, both lessons are included in Practice Tests.