Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Free Video to Teach Prepositional Phrases

Free Video Step 1 Simple Steps to Sentence Sense

What's the big deal about finding prepositional phrases before you start looking for other elements in a sentence like a subject, verb, or complement? Well, let me tell you. Once your students can identify and remove prepositional phrases from a sentence, it will be shorter, and the words that remain will be easier to identify. Then, after they can easily recognize prepositional phrases, they will be better at using them correctly in sentences that they write.

If your students master Step One, they will be amazed at how much easier it is to recognize the parts of a sentence and to write effective sentences of their own.

Here's an example sentence in which I exaggerated the number of prepositional phrases to make my point:

After the party for the seniors in the gym, everyone will go to class for two hours and sign yearbooks.

Now, the magic begins. If you ask your students to find the subject and verb in this sentence, I have no doubt they could do so, but it might take them a while to wade through all the words.

If, however, you gave them a list of prepositions and told them that prepositional phrases begin with one of the words on the list, they could find them easily. You would also explain that at the end of a prepositional phrase there will be a noun or pronoun. An even easier method is to tell them to say the preposition and then ask what? or whom? to find the object of the preposition at the end of the phrase.

Okay, let's try it with the example sentence. Once they find the prepositional phrases, they should cross them out or put [brackets] around them.

No important elements in a sentence including the subject and the verb can be inside a prepositional phrase. So, if we eliminate the phrases, it's easier to find the verb, the subject, and the complement(s).

[After the party] [for the seniors] [in the gym], everyone will go [to class] [for two hours] and sign yearbooks.

Now, it's easy-peasy. The only words that remain are: 
everyone will go and sign yearbooks.

Subject: everyone
Verb: will go, sign (and is a conjunction joining the compound verbs)
Complement: yearbooks

There are other things to learn about prepositional phrases, such as whether they are used as adjective or adverbs, but all that will be revealed as the steps unfold in my Simple Steps to Sentence Sense program. I found my students understood the concept much better if we waited until Step 5 (Adjectives and Adverbs) to make that determination.

The purpose of Step 1 is to find the phrases and eliminate them to shorten the sentences for further analysis. I also included writing connection pages so that students could use prepositional phrases to achieve sentence variety.

I have created a FREE video which you will find on You can view it with your students and help them master this first step in sentence analysis. The video includes a download that has practice exercises.

I know it works, I used it for over three decades and have used it to homeschool my grandson. I hope it helps you and your students, too.

If you are interested in my eBooks that take you through all of the 8 Simple Steps to Sentence Sense and include notes, document projection masters, group and individual exercises, tests, and writing connection pages, you will find them in my store on TpT.  I have an elementary and ESL, a middle school, and a high school edition. CLICK HERE to take a look.

Thanks for reading,

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  1. Such an informative post about prepositions, thanks very much for sharing.

  2. I hadn't thought about using prepositions to isolate the subject and verb. Very helpful; thanks!