Prepositional phrases are used to connect a noun or pronoun to another word. Common words used to create prepositional phrases are at, in, for, of, by, over, under, up, and with, among others.
The man in the shop bought eggs.
We went up the road to see Jim.
Prepositional phrases are key to forming relationships between words in your sentence. Using too many prepositional phrases together, however, can make that sentence sound formal or clunky:
Doctor Martin was obsessed with diseases of the brain of monkeys in Peru.
We can fix this by removing some of the prepositions:
Doctor Martin was obsessed with brain diseases found in Peruvian monkeys.
You can identify excessive use of prepositional phrases by counting out the prepositions (slow), or by reading your writing out loud.
If you’re still having a difficult time tracking them down, you can also use PaperEdit to automatically highlight your problem sentences. You can start your free 15 day trial by downloading PaperEdit here.
- Use prepositions to form relationships between words.
- Too many prepositional phrases can make a sentence sound clunky.
- Use a proofreading tool to highlight excessive use of prepositional phrases for you.