Before you can effectively write using the English language, or even analyze how others use writing effectively, you need to be familiar with the basic parts and components of the English language. I know grammar isn’t your favorite subject to study and learn (hey, it isn’t my favorite either), BUT knowing and being able to identify these smaller component of your own language will allow you to write more effectively and assess and improve your own writing as the year progresses.

This week we will be examining how to correctly diagram adjectives and adverbs. Remember, you must pay attention to whether the adjective or adverb describes the verb or subject or direct object of a sentence, or if the adverb is modifying an adjective to determine where you should place it in your diagram.

A prepositional phrase is a group of words that begin with a preposition and end with a pronoun. The whole phrases functions as either an adjective or adverb.

But what is a preposition? The technical definition is that a preposition is a word that shows the relationship between nouns or pronouns and other elements in the rest of the sentence. The easy definition is that a preposition is anything a worm can do to an apple:


Remember, when a prepositional phrase acts as an adjective, it modifies nouns and pronouns:


When prepositional phrases act as adverbs the modify verbs, adverbs or adjectives:

Remember, when a prepositional phrase acts as an adjective it can modify any noun or pronoun – not just those in the subject. Sometimes they modify the object of another prepositional phrase:

Practice diagramming prepositional phrases with the sentences below:

  1. The beautiful flowers in the garden are growing strong.
  2. That dog across the street has been barking again.
  3. Has Lucy been reading all night?
  4. The plane flew above the puffy, white clouds.
  5. The hairy dog sat in the corner of the room.
  6. The cookie dough is in the back of the fridge.
  7. The rusty shovel with the blue handle sat in my garage.
  8. These three adorable puppies in the basket on the floor have been whimpering since this morning.
  9. Every candle in the little church on Main Street burned brightly throughout the night.
  10. In May, the vigorous plants in Cathy’s vegetable garden grow very quickly.