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.



Dear Kirk,
I'm confused about a form of a phrase: 'a spike in...' like 'a spike in gun crimes' or 'a spike in oil prices' etc. It clearly cannot be used with other prepositions than 'in', but is 'a spike in' actually a prepositional phrase as a form? As the pre-position is after the noun.. Or is this not even a prepositional phrase? but just a noun or noun phrase etc.?
Really appreciate your help in advance.

Best wishes

Hello amongerio,

A 'spike' in general is a shape, but is often used in the context of statistics to refer to a high level or price of something, since this is the shape you can see in a line graph. If you look at a graph of oil prices over the last 80 years, for example, the high points you see in February 1948, January 1974, April 1980, etc. all look like spikes.

As such, in the phrase 'a spike in oil prices', 'spike' is simply the head of a noun phrase that also includes the prepositional phrase 'in oil prices'.

Does that make sense?

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Many thanks Kirk. The meaning is fine, I understood that, I was just confused about the form I had to analyse which is only given as 'a spike in'.. It's a bit odd given this way.. 'a spike in' isn't really one exact grammar form then.. I guess as far as analysis, that by itself would just be a noun phrase based on your note. As I don't have any part given following 'in' to analyse.. which would make the prepositional phrase part. Thanks again for the quick reply. Really appreciate it.

Best wishes

Which preposition is used after the word 'danger' ? Which one of the sentence is correct, 'I am danger to bad people' or 'I am danger for the bad people'?
Please help me.

Hello Marie,

Although they are comprehensible, I'm afraid neither of those sentences is idiomatic. You can be 'a danger to' other people, or something can be 'dangerous', or you can say that 'it's dangerous to do something'. I'm not sure exactly what you mean, so it's hard to give a recommendation with full confidence, but it sounds to me as if you should say 'I am a danger to bad people'.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Thanks a lot

Thanks for the explaining. I have another query. Is the use of 'with' correct in the following sentence?
He is known for his work with black holes and relativity.


Hi naghmairam,

Generally we use 'work on' when referring to the topic or subject of research. We use 'with' when describing collaboration with people:


He is best known for his work with Professor Smith on the mass and composition of Oort Cloud objects.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish

I read the following sentence on an online dictionary. I could not understand the usage of 'on' here. Could you please explain?
I got a job on a newspaper.