English Language Guide: Preposition

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Prepositions relate two events in time or two people or things in space. They form a closed class. They also represent abstract relations between two entities:
  1. "We came home from Mr. Boythorn's after six pleasant weeks."
  2. "The body of a little wizened Gond lay with its feet in the ashes, and Bagheera looked inquiringly at Mowgli. "That was done with a bamboo," said the boy, after one glance.
  3. "I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life, ..."
  4. "Between two golden tufts of summer grass, I see the world through hot air as through glass, ..."
  5. "During these years at Florence, Leonardo's history is the history of his art; he himself is lost in the bright cloud of it."
  6. "When to the sessions of sweet silent thought I summon up remembrances of things past."
Prepositions are accompanied by prepositional complements; these are usually noun phrases. In the above examples, the prepositional complements are:
  1. preposition: "after"; prepositional complement: "six pleasant weeks"
  2. preposition: "after"; prepositional complement: "one glance"
  3. preposition: "to"; prepositional complement: "the seas"; preposition: "to"; prepositional complement: "the vagrant gypsy life";
  4. preposition: "Between"; prepositional complement: "two golden tufts of summer grass,"; preposition: "through"; prepositional complement: "hot air"; preposition: "as through"; prepositional complement: "glass."
  5. preposition: "during"; prepositional complement: "these years at Florence."
  6. preposition: "of"; prepositional complement: "sweet silent thought"; preposition: "of"; prepositional complement: "things past."
Prepositional phrases
A prepositional phrase is formed when a preposition combines with its complement. In the above examples, the prepositional phrases are:
  1. prepositional phrase: "after six pleasant weeks"
  2. prepositional phrase: "after one glance"
  3. prepositional phrases: "to the seas" and "to the vagrant gypsy life"
  4. prepositional phrases: "Between two golden tufts of summer grass," "through hot air" and "as through glass."
  5. prepositional phrase: "During these years at Florence."
  6. prepositional phrases "of sweet silent thought" and "of things past."