Writing Basics: What Is a Preposition?

December 19th, 2020

Reading time about 13 min

English literature and writing would not have been meaningful without the presence of prepositions. Thus, the students and writers must know “what is a preposition,” and use it properly. To answer the question, “what is a preposition,” one should start with sentence construction’s basic idea.

what is a preposition, grammar rules

What Is a Preposition?

A word that declares the relation of a noun or pronoun with its preceding word, or describes the relationship between any two words or elements in a sentence and clause, is known as the preposition. One can place a preposition in a sentence, clause, and phrase as well. For writing a meaningful sentence, preposition plays an important role.

What Is an Example of a Preposition?

For the example of a Preposition, let’s take a sentence: “She left for Australia.” The sentence is incomplete, and there is a change in meaning if there is no preposition in the sentence. “She left for Australia ” suggests that the lady is going to Australia.

When it is written, “She left Australia,” it merely means she departs from Australia without the preposition. This drastic change shows what a preposition is and how vital it is for a sentence.

Functions of a Preposition:

Prepositions play different roles in a sentence. They established the relationships between other elements present in a sentence. When a student or writer tries to convey what happened and when it happened, to clarify that, preposition plays an important role.

However, there are different mistaken notions about the usage of prepositions. The writers must keep in mind that using Prepositions at the end of a sentence is not a grammatical error.

Types of Preposition: Prepositions help to tell about location, time, direction, spatial relation, abstract ideas related to the sentence. Examples of a Preposition –

Location: Look to the left and right before crossing the road. (To-Preposition)

Time: They have been living in Delhi since 1998. (In-Preposition)

Location: We were waiting at the airport for him. (At-Preposition)

Space: The cat was sitting under the table. (Under-Preposition)

Ending a Sentence With Preposition:

There was an old notion regarding preposition usage. It said that using prepositions at the end of a sentence is wrong. This notion is now demolished, and writers can occasionally use prepositions at the end of the sentence if necessary.

For example: ‘Where are you from?’ Here, the sentence’s meaning suggests that the speaker asks the auditor about the place from where they have come. Suppose the proposition is eradicated for the old notion. In that case, the meaning completely changes. The question, ‘where are you?’ is different.

Simultaneously, when a student uses a preposition at the end of a sentence, they may be careful about not using it twice. Example- ‘I want someone to lean on.’ If the student writes, ‘I want someone on to lean on,’ the double usage of the same preposition makes it incorrect.

Unnecessary Use of Preposition:

Though, the unnecessary usage of prepositions is not frowned upon in colloquial English language. In the written language, it can be erroneous. The most common overuse of the preposition is seen at the end of the question.

For example: ‘Where are you at?’ The correct form is ‘Where are you?’ The students can also get rid of some prepositions to create a concise and smooth sentence. For example, they can write, ‘Changing of streams can be difficult for the students.’ However, they can also replace it with ‘Changing stream can be difficult for the students.”

What Is a Prepositional Phrase?

A prepositional phrase is a combination of different words that include prepositions, objects, and other words that modify the objects.

There are mainly three types of Prepositional phrases, Adverbial phrases and Adjectival phrases.

A Prepositional phrase generally modifies a Verb or a Noun. It must contain a preposition and an object that qualifies, and this object can be Noun, Gerund, or a Clause that helps to make it meaningful. For example, the officers arrived on time.

“Her” in time is a prepositional phrase. The expected starting for a prepositional phrase may include prepositions like, at, in, behind, before, after, by, during, for, under, over, with, etc.

Prepositional Phrases Modifying Noun:

The prepositional phrases that modify Nouns generally behave as Adjectives. Hence they are called Adjectival phrases. I love to come and enjoy the ambiance of the café by the lake. The phrase ‘by the lake’ is an Adjectival phrase.

Prepositional Phrases Modifying Verbs:

The prepositional phrases that qualify a Verb and behave as Adverbs are called Adverbial Prepositional Phrases. For example, “they are going to celebrate the captain’s birthday after their game.” The phrase ‘after their game’ is an Adverbial Phrase.

When Prepositional Phrases Act as Nouns:

Though this sort of usage is not frequent, sometimes Prepositional phrases can act as Nouns. For example, During the Winter Season, it is possibly the worst time to visit the hilly region. The phrase During the Winter Season works as a Noun.

Avoiding Overuse of Prepositional Phrase:

Though a writer may feel prepositional phrases can increase the beauty of a sentence, overuse of prepositional phrases can take away the style of writing.

The writer should not repeat using a prepositional phrase after every 10-15 words in a passage. They should remove them to maintain elegance and a smooth flow of writing.

How to Stay Away From Plagiarism in Writing?

While composing academic writing, the students need to be careful about using prepositions. A misplaced preposition can change the meaning and approach of a sentence. Therefore, a student must carefully edit the writing and check a paper for plagiarism before submitting it.

what is a preposition, composing academic writing

The students can use a sentence checker or a spelling checker to find the grammatical errors present in a sentence. The student must use a content checker tool to check for plagiarism. They can upload the writing on a school plagiarism checker to scan the content.

They thoroughly check a paper for plagiarism and generate a detailed report with percentage plagiarism. After the student plagiarism checker finds out the copied content, the students can use quotation marks and do proper citation to avoid plagiarism.

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