A prepositional phrase is made up of a preposition and a noun phrase. We use prepositional phrases for many purposes, for example:

- as adverbials of time and place:

We will be back in a few days.
They drove to Glasgow

.- as a postmodifier in a noun phrase:

Helen is the girl in the red dress
We’ve got a new television with a thirty one inch screen.

- to show who did something:

The lion was killed by the hunter
I saw a wonderful painting by Van Gogh

- with double object verbs like give and get:

We gave five pounds to the woman on the corner.
They got a drink for me.

- after certain verbs, nouns and adjectives:

The book belongs to me.
I had an argument with my brother.
I feel sorry for you.




What's the difference between 'appalled at' and 'appalled by'?

Hello everyone,
I wanna ask some questions
1. verbs and prepositions: what is the characteristic of noun or verb that use dependent preposition with, for, of, to etc.? I always make mistake when I use for and to.
2. for britishcouncil: would you like to provide some idioms?
3. Are need and dare like modals? 'cause I found them in my text book are used like modals. for example : " Need I answer?" ; " he daren't jump".
thank you for your help and have a nice summer holiday!

tanks a lot for every things.
I've got a question.
what does  grammar for "In, On and At" location prepositions?

What's the difference between question 3 and question 8? 

Hi Zhao Wei

I'm not sure I'll be able to give you a very good answer but I'll try.

I'll start with number 8 because it's a bit simpler. Some verbs are described as 'double object verbs' (or ditransitive) because they are used with two objects, a direct object (the noun which undergoes the action) and the indirect object (usually a person or recipient of an action).

For example, "The evil queen gave the poisoned apple to Snow White." The poisoned apple is the direct object (it is the thing being given) and Snow white is the indirect object (she is the recipient of the giving).

In the example above, the verb save takes a direct object: a seat - the thing which undergoes the saving, and an indirect object: my sister - the recipient. If the direct object comes first, then you need a preposition to link the direct object with the indirect object.

There's an activity here that should help you see how double object verbs work.

In number 3, the noun gratitude is used as an example of a noun which is usually followed by a prepositional phrase. There are lots of examples of nouns that are often followed in this way. It can be useful to group them by preposition; for example:


I have deep admiration for Nelson Mandela.

Can you explain the reason for your actions?

I have a lot of hope for the future.

I have no sympathy for you, you shouldn't have drunk so much last night.

I won't let my housemate hold the remote controller as she has a preference for romantic comedies and I can't stand them.

I hope that helps a little.

Jack Radford

The LearnEnglish Team