The Power of Prepositions!

Prepositions are underrated.  Even adverbs, one of the most enigmatic parts of speech, gets more attention than prepositions.

What difference does it make?

Consider this.  Emerging writers often fail to use complete sentences.  Students who can identify prepositions and prepositional phrases are better able to identify the subject and verb of a sentence.  Once this skill is mastered, students’ writing is clearer and more complete.

To understand how to find subjects, students first need to learn about nouns and pronouns.  Once students have a handle on nouns and pronouns, teachers might want to consider moving on to prepositions.  Here’s why.  Many sentences have prepositional phrases.  The nouns and pronouns that end these propositional phrases are called objects of the preposition.  Students often incorrectly mistake the nouns and pronouns in these prepositional phrases as the subject of the sentence.

I love prepositions

Phrases like these can seem like sentences.  Along the slippery trail.  Stuck between two pages.  When the bus arrived.

Even when students seem to have mastered the ability to identify subjects and verbs, sentences with several nouns or pronouns can be confusing.  Check out this sentence:

Down the hill, past the grove of orange trees, Linda turned onto the shady, dirt road by the new school.

Students who have learned to identify prepositions and objects of the preposition are able to eliminate all the prepositional phrases in sentences, even one this long.  Let’s try it.  If we eliminate all the prepositional phrases– down the hill, past the grove, of orange trees, onto the shady, dirt road, and by the new school– that only leaves two words:  Linda and turned.

Down the hill, past the grove of orange trees, Linda turned onto the shady, dirt road by the new school.

Given two words to choose from, most students will be able to identify the noun (Linda) as the subject, and the remaining word (turned) as the verb.

Eliminating large chunks of wording from sentences makes it much easier for students to pick the correct noun or nouns that are acting as the subject, as well as the verb or verbs that make up the complete verb phrase.

SubjectVerbAgreementGraphicMy

After searching for materials that use this approach to teaching grammar and writing,  I discovered there was little to be had.  Below are the resources I’ve discovered, as well as those I’ve created for my own use.

There are many free worksheets at Super Teacher Worksheets.  However, it’s important to review all handouts carefully to avoid sentences that include infinitives such as to be, to go, or to see, that might confuse students just beginning to learn this skill.

There are several free preposition videos available through WatchKnowLearn.   Since most are geared toward a wide age range, you may need to check out two or three before finding one best suited to a specific grade.  Here’s a link to a short preposition SMART Board lesson on SMART Exchange.  And, this link at CafeTechno has some definitions and examples that might help clarify lesson content.

Here’s an 88-slide PowerPoint that introduces prepositions and prepositional phrases, as well as showing how to eliminate them to identify the subject and verb of a sentence.  For a limited time, purchase this product and receive a FREE copy of the companion product, Identifying Subjects & Verbs; Easy Mastery Using Prepositions & Prep. Phrases .

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This engaging PowerPoint is designed to teach students to easily identify the subject and verb of a sentence. The entertaining lesson contains animations, cartoon characters, and humorous dialogue. Students learn about a “trick” for identifying subjects and verbs. The key to the “trick” is learning how to eliminate prepositional phrases from the sentence. Any student with a basic understanding of nouns and verbs will enjoy success with this approach.

Check it out!

This resource contains 43 reproducible pages (plus answer keys) designed to teach students to easily identify the subject and verb of any sentence.  Using these materials students will learn to: identify up to 48 common prepositions, locate and cross out all prepositional phrases in a sentence, and scan the remaining words to identify the subject and verb.

Identifying Subjects & Verbs~ These handouts, printables, and assessments help students eliminate prepositional phrases to easily identify the subject and verb. Includes preposition handouts, step-by-step introduction, practice worksheets, and quick, easy-to-grade assessments.

Identifying Subjects & Verbs~ These handouts, printables, and assessments help students eliminate prepositional phrases to easily identify the subject and verb. Includes preposition handouts, step-by-step introduction, practice worksheets, and quick, easy-to-grade assessments.

Check it out!

If you know of any other free or low-cost resources that use prepositions and prepositional phrases to identify subjects and verbs of sentences, please leave a comment and share!

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One thought on “The Power of Prepositions!

  1. Pingback: Revise Prepositions AT, IN, ON and Simple Past tense | Train Technical English

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