What is a prepositional phrase?

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Have you ever tried to describe something without using a prepositional phrase?  Well, it’s almost impossible!  Although prepositional phrases are not a requirement in every sentence, they certainly do help us:  (a) add details, (b) create interest, and (c) make spatial and other relationships clear.

A prepositional phrase begins with a preposition (P) and ends with an object of the preposition (OP).  The OP can be a noun, pronoun, gerund, or clause

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A prepositional phrase can also include one or more words between the P and OP.  These words are called modifiers because they modify the OP.  Since the object of the preposition is a noun, pronoun, gerund, or clause, modifiers within the prepositional phrase will most likely be adjectives (Adj).  Adjective labels include:  (a) regular adjectives (Adj), (b) article adjectives (A), (c) possessive pronoun adjectives (PPA), and (d) possessive noun adjectives (PNA).

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Did you know that a prepositional phrase can modify like an adjective or adverb?  It’s true.  Prepositional phrases can function either as adjectives by modifying nouns and pronouns or as adverbs by modifying verbs, adjectives, and adverbs.  These prepositional phrases add important details to sentences, and their location can help you identify them as an adjective or adverb modifier.


Here are some facts to know about an adjective phrase (or adjectival phrase):

  1. An adjective phrase modifies a noun or pronoun.

  2. A prepositional phrase functioning as an adjective modifies like a one-word adjective by telling what kind or which one.

  3. More than one adjective phrase can be used to modify the same noun.

  4. Location: 

· An adjective phrase usually comes directly after the noun or pronoun it modifies.

· If two prepositional phrases are located together, with one right after the next, most of the time, the second phrase will be an adjective phrase that modifies the object of the first phrase.

· Sometimes, the prepositional phrase that comes directly after a direct object will not modify the direct object, but will modify the verb.


Here are some facts to know about an adverb phrase (or adverbial phrase):

  1.  An adverb phrase usually modifies a verb but can also modify an adjective or adverb.

  2. A prepositional phrase functioning as an adverb phrase modifies like a one-word adverb by telling how, when, where, why, or to what extent.

  3. Location: 

· When an adverb phrase modifies a verb, it can be located directly after the verb, at the beginning of the sentence, or it can be separated from the verb it modifies by being located somewhere else in the sentence. 

· An adverb phrase can also follow another prepositional phrase.

It’s Application Time! Review the sentence below during your discussion on prepositional phrases. Take notice of how the prepositional phrases help us:  (a) add details, (b) create interest, and (c) make spatial and other relationships clear.

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Jamie Geneva

Jamie Geneva is the Senior National Consultant at Shurley Instructional Materials and is a seasoned subject matter expert in the realm of English Language Arts.  Her career with the company began during the days of the Shurley Method binder, which was pre-1st Edition, and has spanned across three decades.  Over the years, her various roles have included teacher, presenter, state representative, consultant, manager, and most recently, a Shurley English Digital Assistant.  You might not recognize her face, but her voice could certainly sound familar.  That’s because she’s recorded Jingles, Q&A Flow Sentences, and other Shurley English content for many, many years. 

Jamie and her husband, Garret, live in the foothills of eastern Oklahoma. She loves spending quality time with her family, traveling, reading, cooking, and staying connected on social media.

Ms. Geneva received her B.S. degree in Elementary Education and her M.Ed in Public School Administration from Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, OK. 

The Classroom Cafe: Creating an ideal writing space

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Sniff, sniff, mmmm! There’s something special about the aroma of that sweet, little corner coffee shop.  The lingering scent of a creamy caramel latte, mixed with the boldness of jet-black espresso, brings a smile to my face.  The dimmed lights and down-tempo tunes playing in the background set the stage for an ideal writing space.  I settle-in, let the atmosphere inspire me, and begin to write. 

A great way to keep your students engaged is by turning your classroom into a cafe…The Shurley Café. The creation and set-up of the actual Shurley Café is completely up to you, but here are a few suggestions to get you started:

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How to Create The Shurley Café:

  • Arrange desks in two’s or small groups.

  • Dim the lights or bring in lamps with soft lighting.

  • Play calming, quiet music in the background.

  • Create a Shurley Café sign.

  • Create a Café Chat bulletin board.

  • Create a Reflection Form for students to write their Café Chat reflection on. (More on that in a bit.)

  • Make hot cocoa/cider to enjoy while the café is open.

  • Wear an apron.

  • Serve a light snack.

  • Invite your administration to the café!

  • Turn this into an opportunity for silent reading, as well!

  • Repeat as often as you like.

Let’s write! Now that you have The Shurley Café ready to go, it’s time to start composing. Since it is holiday time, why not have students explore how other countries celebrate Christmas?  Afterwards, they can compare it to their own family’s celebration.  It’s a great way to learn about traditions around the world as well as the traditions of their peers while working through the writing process.

To get started, you’ll need to do the following:

1. Assign different countries to students.

2. Allow time in your plans for students to research on the computer.

3. Check out some books that cover Christmas customs from around the world.

4. Make copies of a Venn Diagram.

5. Makes copies of the guided Café Chat reflection paragraph (example below).

6. Refer students to helpful websites, such as:




Here’s a day-by-day overview to help you with your planning:


  1. Assign a Comparison/Contrast Essay

  2. Choose a topic.

  3. Research your topic using books or the computer during class.

  4. Take notes on your topic.


  1. Create a Venn diagram.

  2. Write a rough draft.

  3. Begin the revising and editing process in class, individually. Revise and edit with your partner, if time allows.


  1. Continue the revising and editing process.

  2. Share your composition with your teacher.

  3. Write your final draft in class. (Complete as homework if you need extra time.)

  4. Create an illustration that depicts your topic, if time allows.

Thursday: The Shurley Café Day!

  1. Share your essay while you enjoy a warm cup of cocoa. (You can do this activity with a partner or in small groups.)

  2. Write a Café Chat reflection. (see below.)

Friday: The Shurley Café Day!

  1. Share your reflection with your partner or small group.

  2. Post your reflection on the Café Chat bulletin board. (Share with the entire class if you’d like to do so.)

  3. Enjoy reading the Café Chat board while you sip your drink and socialize.

Remember, you are still the leader of the room—more like the guide by the side in this scenario—so classroom management is very important.  Be there to assist your students through the writing process. This is their opportunity to show you what they’ve learned! You can teach so much more than writing in an activity like this!  Have an enjoyable experience and a peaceful holiday season!  


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Kimberly Crady

Kimberly Crady is an adventurous woman with an immense love for life, learning, and teaching. After teaching in upper elementary classrooms for nearly 10 years, she joined the Shurley Team in 2005.  Kimberly has had the unique experience of teaching Shurley English lessons in all levels, Kindergarten-8th grade and training teachers across the United States.  Kimberly is a National Consultant and SEDA Teacher for Shurley Instructional Materials.


Kimberly’s passion for helping people and living a healthy lifestyle has led her to continue her education in the area of Health and Wellness.  She enjoys numerous outdoor activities from hiking and snowboarding in the Rocky Mountains to paddle boarding in the ocean; although, these days you can find her practicing hot yoga in a Bikram Yoga studio. She also enjoys traveling abroad, live music, reading, and spending time with her favorite mutt, Lu.  Kimberly’s experience as a Certified Health & Wellness Coach and Teen Life Coach helps support her firm belief in teaching the whole person, especially in the classroom.


Silent Final E: The –le Ending Rule

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Back again with Part 3, which I call The –le Ending Rule for Rule 3.  If you have been checking in with my blog posts, I have been delving into the hows and whys of Silent Final E. (So far, we have discussed Rule 1 and Rule 2.)

Students easily understand this Rule 3 because it only has two major guidelines: 1) the word has to be more than one syllable long, and 2) the last syllable ends with –le. Sometimes, the last syllable may end with an “R” and needs a Silent Final E, but not as often in early vocabulary. Look at these examples. Imagine how they would be pronounced without the silent e.

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Did you notice that the pronunciation doesn’t really need the e in the final syllables? That’s because the last syllables in each of these examples contains an “L” (or an “R”). In the world of linguistics, “L” is sorta bossy…it likes to act like a syllable all by itself, even without a vowel to go with it. In an English syllable, that’s a No-No. So, we fix it by adding a Silent Final E after the syllabic “L”.

To recap, Rule 3 generally applies ANYTIME a multi-syllable word ends up with only consonants in its last syllable. Since all English syllables must have at least one vowel, we use an e. Look at the last syllables in these examples for a review. Now do you know why the e is there?

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Next time, we’ll conclude this series with The Catch-all Rule for Rule 4!

(This post is part of a series on Silent Final E. To start at the beginning, click here.)

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David Lutz

David, a former classroom teacher, administrator, and self-proclaimed grammar nut, considers the oddities of English vocabulary and grammar his playthings! He received his degrees in elementary education, teaching, and curriculum design from CMU in Fayette, MO, and the University of St. Mary, Leavenworth, KS, respectively. His career has been a colorful collage of experiences in education, ranging from Kindergarten to Adult education and parenting classes.


He and his wife, Marjorie, have been blessed with 30 years of marriage, three grown sons, a cherished daughter-in-law, and the smartest, cutest grandson on the planet! He’s worked for Shurley Instructional Materials, Inc., for over 11 years and loves to help students and their teachers learn to love language and language learning as much as he does.