It's week three of the Grammarphobe lessons! I can feel the excitement, the bated breath, what the heck are we talking about today, Miss Jennifer? Well girls and boys, it's prepositional phrases!
Yes, prep phrases! Good old prep phrases. Preppie Phrases, they probably wear sunglasses and Bermuda shorts, thinking they are so cool. Let's figure them out and see if they do deserve to wear that Izod shirt.
According to the University of Oregon's website, the prepositional phrase includes the preposition and the object of the preposition as well as any modifiers. Dandy! However, I know what my intrepid pupils are thinking. They are thinking: Miss Jennifer, why do we care about this junk? Pipe down in the back, you wisenheimer!
Now prepositions are small words like into or above or across that are hard to describe in words. They construct a liaison between other words in a sentence by connecting phrases for the remaining sentence. Sounds sexy, doesn't it? Let's find out what some of these prepositions are:
by way of
in addition to
in front of
in place of
in regard to
in spite of
on account of
Courtesy of the University of Oregon's website.
Aren't they divine?
Now prepositions are always followed by a noun. Always. There's a law. You can't feed ducks bread, you can't kick someone just because you feel like it, and all prepositions are followed by a noun.
Now I know what you are thinking. Why does this matter? Well, you got me. According to Diana Hacker, professional writers have to ignore prep phrases when it comes to verbs and subjects; otherwise, it gets too wordy, too clunky. It does make sense. When you write, you want your sentences to be elegant, simple. You don't want to tie it down with too many words.
Another thing to remember about prepositional phrases: Don't end a sentence with one. For instance, you can't end a sentence like this:
From where she was, she couldn't see above.
See? Doesn't it sound a bit vague? Try this:
From where she was, she couldn't see above the ledge.
Now here it's more detailed, and we have a ledge. Now this is getting exciting!
I always have a bias against prepositional phrases. It's because in sixth grade, we were drilled in prepositional phrases so much I grew tired of them. I'm not kidding, we started the first day with them and we kept going, and going, and it was November, and it was the 60th straight day of prepositional phrases! We circled them, we underlined them, we just did everything we could with prepositional phrases that were legal. I grew to hate prepositional phrases with a passion. I hated all the words I listed earlier in this blog. However, in order to improve myself, I need to learn to love prepositional phrases. Otherwise, I'll be stuck having bad grammar and boy, I get tired of being reminded I have bad grammar.
So prepositional phrases, let's make a truce. I'm not in sixth grade anymore, and you always knew you are not my enemy. We'll be friends. We'll have a picnic, like they do in the School House Rock video. Let's have some watermelon, let's get some sun, let's just relax and learn how to exist together.
Causes Jennifer Gibbons Supports
Gilda's Club, Greenpeace, Rosie's Broadway Kids,Westwind Foster Family Agency, Amber Brown Fund, Linda Duncan Fund for Contra Costa Libraries