The Structure of English Language — Prepositions

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Prepositions are words or groups of words, that introduce phrases; and these phrases modify some element in a sentence. What follows a preposition is normally a noun, pronoun, or noun clause. A word that follows a preposition is its object, and, in the case of pronouns especially, this affects the form of the word.

  • He walked near her (never He walked near she).
  • He gave them to her and me (never He gave them to she and I or He gave them to her and I).

One of the problems in spotting prepositions in a sentence is that many of the words that are usually prepositions can also be used as adverbs.

  • He never saw them before. (Here before is an adverb).
  • They sat before the counter. (Here before is a preposition,and the whole prepositional phrase serves as an adverb, modifying sat).

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