Sentence Fluency: Using Appositives and Prepositional Phrases

Contributor: Delaine Thomas. 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!


Can you find the hidden words? You'll need them to keep your readers from being puzzled!

  • 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! In the first picture, the dragon is on the box; “on the box” is a prepositional phrase. A prepositional phrase begins with a preposition and ends with a noun. All of the words that are between the two are part of the prepositional phrase.

In this lesson, you will be learning about two types of phrases: prepositional phrases and appositive phrases.

Before you go on, 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.

Take out a piece of paper and pencil. As you watch the video clip below (starts at 1:44, ends at 9:54), 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:


One way to improve your sentence structure and thereby make your sentences more fluent is to add phrases to your short sentences. For example, in the sentence, Jon milked the cows, you could add the prepositional phrase “after breakfast” to the beginning of the sentence to now say: After breakfast, Jon milked the cows.

One way you can use an appositive is to add an appositive phrase or a prepositional phrase to expand your simple sentence into a more complex sentence, adding more information for your reader. You can also use these phrases to combine two short sentences into one. Look at the following example:

Mary is a cute little girl. Mary is very smart. These two sentences could be combined to say: Mary, a cute little girl, is also very smart.

  • Have you ever been around a toddler or young child?

They speak in one- or two-word sentences.

  • Would it be strange if they never increased the length of their sentences? It would, wouldn't it?

In the same way, you need to improve both your verbal and written communication in order to be able to express yourself as an adult one day, perhaps as someone who is seeking a job and wants to present him or her self well.

Continue to the Got It? section to practice identifying the two kinds of phrases in sentences.

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