Sentence Fluency: Using Appositives and Prepositional Phrases

Contributor: Elephango Editors. Lesson ID: 12620

What type of word do you think a prepositional phrase begins with? Are you positive you know what an appositive is? These add information and variety to your writing, a positive proposition you need!



English / Language Arts
learning style
personality style
Grade Level
Middle School (6-8)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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  • Can you find the hidden words in the puzzle above?

Try to figure it out before moving on!

  • Were you able to determine what the hidden words were in the above picture?

They are on, between, under, and in.

  • What part of speech are those words?

If you said prepositions, you are correct!

The dragon is on the box, between the boxes, under the box, and in the box.

Before continuing, if you missed or would like to review the first lesson in our Sentence Fluency series, you can find it in the right-hand sidebar under Related Lessons.

In this lesson, we'll talk about two kinds of phrases that can spruce up your writing!

Prepositions are words that show location or relationship. Let's review prepositions with a fun song, "Preposition" by The Bazillions:

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Prepositional Phrases

Whenever a preposition is used in a sentence, it's part of a phrase called -- guess what -- a prepositional phrase!

Some prepositional phrases used in the Bazillions song were:

  • on the couch
  • outside my house
  • across the street
  • within your reach
  • up the stairs
  • off my chiair
  • in front of you
  • behind me

One way to add interest to your writing is to add some prepositional phrases.

For example, look at this sentence:

Jon milked the cows.

You could add the prepositional phrase after breakfast and change the sentence to:

After breakfast, Jon milked the cows.

You could add another prepositional phrase and say:

Jon milked the cows in the barn after breakfast.

  • See how the sentence gets more interesting when we add those prepositional phrases?
  • What other prepositional phrase could you use in this sentence?



Appositives are another kind of phrase that will make your writing more interesting.

An appositive is a phrase that describes the noun it comes after.

Let's go back to the sentence about Jon.

  • How could we describe him?

Jon, the friendly farmer, milked the cows in the barn after breakfast.

Jon, the hardworking dairyman, milked the cows in the barn after breakfast.

Notice that there's always a comma both before and after the appositive phrase.

  • Can you think of another appositive to describe Jon?

Great job! You've learned how to add prepositional phrases and appositives to sentences.

Let's review!

Take out a piece of paper and pencil. As you watch the video below, answer the following questions:

  1. What is an appositive phrase?
  2. Why do you use a comma to separate it from the rest of the sentence?
  3. What is a prepositional phrase?
  4. Why would you use a prepositional phrase or an appositive phrase in a sentence?

Prepositional Phrases and Appositive Phrases with Whitman, from Sarah Whitman:

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One way you can use an appositive or a prepositional phrase is to expand your simple sentence into a more complex sentence, adding more information for your reader:

Jon, the friendly farmer, milked the cows in the barn after breakfast.

You can also use these phrases to combine two short sentences into one. Look at the following examples:

Appositive Example: Mary is a funny girl. Mary is very smart.

These two sentences could be combined using an appositive phrase to say:

Mary, a funny girl, is also very smart.

Preposition Example: Mary is a funny girl. Mary is under her book.

These two sentences could be combined using a prepositional phrase to say:

Mary is a funny girl under her book.


Continue to the Got It? section to practice identifying the two kinds of phrases you've learned!

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