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Part 2 Grammar Skills Review

Groups of Words That Describe

Sometimes in our writing, there are groups of words that work together to describe nouns, pronouns, or verbs, like adjectives and adverbs do.

Prepositions — A preposition begins a group of words and shows a relationship to other words in the sentence. It comes before a noun or an object pronoun, which complete the phrase.

Ex. I went to the store.

I gave it to him.

These phrases describe or modify like adjectives and adverbs. For example, in the above example, the prepositional phrase “to the store” tells us where I went, like an adverb would.

A list of commonly used prepositions are:

above, about, across, against, along, among, around, at, before, behind, below, beneath, beside, between, beyond, by, down, during, except, for, from, in, inside, into, like, near, of, off, on, since, to, toward, through, under, until, up, upon, with, within

Like adjectives and adverbs, these phrases will always point to other words in sentences.

  1. A prepositional phrase acts as an adjective when it modifies (describes) a noun or a pronoun, usually answering these questions:

Which one?

What kind (of)?

How many?


Example: The boy at the bus stop seemed nervous.

The prepositional phrase at the bus stop tells which boy.

  1. A prepositional phrase acts as an adverb when it modifies (describes) a verb. A phrase used as an adverb usually answers these questions:





Example: Megan eats lunch every day in the cafeteria.

The prepositional phrase in the cafeteria tells where Megan ate lunch.

Adverbial Noun Phrases – These are noun phrases that describe or modify verbs as an adverb would.

Ex. Leon hunts deer (when?) every weekend.

He is arriving (where?) home.

He travels (how much?) a great deal.


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To the extent possible under law, Cheryl McCormick, Sue Hank, and Ninna Roth have waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights to Groups of Words That Describe, except where otherwise noted.

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