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 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

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

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!

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

well my english is not good but i have to be a good speaker just like britishrs speaks. from where should i start?

Hello Saysomenew!
Well, you should see this website as a library – just borrow whatever interests you! A good place to start is our Elementary Podcasts. These are short radio shows about different topics. To help your listening, vocabulary and grammar, you can listen to them, read the transcripts, and do the exercises. You can talk to other learners in the comments, too. There is lots of other material in our Listen and Watch section as well. If you want to work on grammar, take a look at our grammar section.
Doing these things, especially listening, will help you improve your speaking without thinking about it. To practise speaking, remember you don't have to have a native speaker to talk to. Maybe a friend or colleague wants to talk English – ask around, and find someone who wants to practice.
Good luck, and keep working on it!
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi, this is Man, it is great to have English experts that are willing to help me out of English problems. Thanks. I am so confused with the meaning " I will be back in an hour (or say 5 minutes)” , I found two different meanings on Internet, one is " I will be back WITHIN an hour (5 minutes)", the other one is "I will be back AFTER an hour (5 minutes)". I also checked the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary that, "in" also has two meanings, one is "WITHIN a time period" where in contrast, the other one means "AFTER a time period", I am really confused with the wording ".... be back in XX hours/minutes".   Kindly pls help to explain which one is correct or if there is any other meaning for it. Thanks and Regards. Man

Hi Man,
Thanks for your kind words. It's always great to hear from members who've clearly spent a lot of time using our resources.
You've done some great research on the topic, and what you found in the dictionary is of course correct. For me, "I'll be back within an hour" means I'll be back before one hour has passed, whereas "in an hour" means in about one hour - it could be a bit earlier or later.
If I wanted to be very exact, then I would probably use a number, saying something like "in 1 hour and 10 minutes" rather than saying "in one hour".
Does that help you see it more clearly? Please let us know if not.
Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

today only started the course,
best wished