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? Learn how these add information and variety to your writing!



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 below?

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  • 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.

Prepositions are words that show location or relationship. Watch the video below for a quick review.

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  • Are you ready to explore two phrases that can spruce up your writing?

Prepositional Phrases

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

Below are some of the prepositional phrases you just heard in the video.

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


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

For example, look at the following sentence.

Jon milked the cows.

You could add the prepositional phrase after breakfast and change the sentence.

After breakfast, Jon milked the cows.

You could add another prepositional phrase and say the following.

Jon milked the cows in the barn after breakfast.

The sentence gets more interesting when prepositional phrases are added.

  • What other prepositional phrase could you use in this sentence?



Appositives are another type of phrase to make your writing more interesting.

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

Go back to the sentence about Jon.

  • How could you describe him?

You could add the following appositives.

The friendly farmer, Jon, 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 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.

Watch the video below to review what you have learned.

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Answer the following questions in your notebook.

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

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.

The friendly farmer, Jon, 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.

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.

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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