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Using Prepositional Phrases as Object Complements

Traditional grammars notionally define prepositions as words that “link to other words, phrases, and clauses” and that “express spatial or temporal relations.” Prepositional phrases are phrases that consist of a preposition plus another word, phrase, or clause functioning as the prepositional complement.

In grammar, an object complement is a word or phrase that directly follows and modifies the direct object. Although nouns, pronouns, and noun phrases most frequently perform the function, prepositional phrases sometimes, although rarely, function as object complements in English. Examples of prepositional phrases as object complements include the following:

  • Students declare the best time of year during the summer.
  • The tour guides announced the most dangerous place to swim along the southern shore.
  • The reviewer named the most organized classrooms in the English building.
  • The Provost named the cleanest restrooms in the education building.

References

Brinton, Laurel J. & Donna M. Brinton. 2010. The linguistic structure of Modern English, 2nd edn. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company.
Hopper, Paul J. 1999. A short course in grammar. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.
Huddleston, Rodney. 1984. Introduction to the grammar of English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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