1. Billaferd
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    Billaferd Member

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    Grammar - Prepositional Phrases

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Billaferd, Jan 24, 2014.

    Hello all,

    I'm new here and have been looking around. Recently I have been writing a lot of manuals and reports at work; and it has made me want to become better at writing in general. When I was younger I liked to write short stories and received some nice critiques from teachers, so I decided to start writing short stories again to practice.

    I recently was looking into proper grammar, I found a website with short quizzes (Searching for 'English Grammar 101' will bring you to the site), and I found that my weakest area so far is identifying prepositional phrases. Prepositional pairs to be exact. I was wondering if anyone had any solid resources on learning this skill. I looked through many websites and a few ebooks on project gutenberg but couldn't find anything that I could identify with.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated, Thanks.
     
  2. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Purdue's Online Writing Lab has a good section on prepositions.
     
  3. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    yes, that's an excellent site for all things grammar related...
     
  4. Billaferd
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    Billaferd Member

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    Thanks for the link, it did seem to help a little. I'm starting to think I just need more practice. The main problem I am having is picking out prepositional phrases when multiples exist in a single sentence. I seem to do fine if there is only one in a sentence, but it trips me up when there are more.

    Here is an example:

    Near the door of the cabin, large pine trees grew.

    I know that the part of the cabin is an adjective phrase, but I get tripped up on the part Near the door. I know it is an adjective phrase, but I just miss it.

    Another example is like the following:

    Next to the house, there stood a large pine tree covered with snow.

    I can easily pick out the phrase Next to the house. The next phrase however is a bit muddy, I want to say that the next phrase is covered with snow. But the critique says that it is with snow. I think I understand most of it, but i it's just down to practicing more.
     
  5. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    subject/noun: trees
    predicate/verb: grew

    'near the door' modifies [where?] the verb 'grew'...

    'of the cabin' modifies [where?] 'door'...


    subject/noun: tree
    predicate/verb: stood

    'next to the house' modifies [where?] 'stood'

    '['that is' is unstated/understood] covered with snow' modifies [what kind?] 'tree' and is actually two modifying phrases...
    '[that is] covered' modifies 'tree' and 'with snow' modifies '[that is] covered'

    you need to learn how to diagram sentences... doing that will end your confusion...
     
  6. David K. Thomasson
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    David K. Thomasson Contributing Member

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    "Near the door" is an adverbial phrase. It modifies the verb and tells where the trees stood. Practice diagramming sentences so you can see what is related to what in a sentence.

    [​IMG]
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    what program do you use to do diagrams, david?... I could sure use one for situations like this, as well as for my mentees and clients...
     
  8. David K. Thomasson
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    David K. Thomasson Contributing Member

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    Oh, I just put that together in Photoshop. If I needed to diagram a sentence, I would do it on paper. But I was drilled in this so much as a child, I can do them in my head now.

    Out of curiosity, I searched and found this online utility that works quite nicely. Note the arrow buttons at the top that give you alternative diagrams after you enter a sentence. In this case, version #3 is identical to what I posted above.

    EDIT: A nice little introduction to diagramming here.
     
  9. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    I've been able to do them in my head, too, since I learned the process in grade school, back in the 40s... whoever's responsible for dropping it from the curriculum should be sentenced to spend eternity sitting in the corner with a dunce cap on their head...

    thanks for the utility info...
     
  10. Billaferd
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    Billaferd Member

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    So I've never heard of sentence diagramming before. I've been looking it over and it's very interesting. I'm going to continue trying to learn this skill. It seems very useful and as a programmer actually seems more natural. Very similar to tree and graph theory in math.
     

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