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Journalistic Writer: Effective Parts of Speech (Part 3)

What is a Preposition?

A preposition links nouns, pronouns and phrases to other words in a sentence. The word or phrase that the preposition introduces is called the object of the preposition.

A preposition usually indicates the temporal, spatial or logical relationship of its object to the rest of the sentence as in the following examples:

  • The book is on the table.
  • The book is beneath the table.
  • The book is leaning against the table.
  • The book is beside the table.
  • She held the book over the table.
  • She read the book during class.

In each of the preceding sentences, a preposition locates the noun “book” in space or in time.

A prepositional phrase is made up of the preposition, its object and any associated adjectives or adverbs. A prepositional phrase can function as a noun, an adjective, or an adverb. The most common prepositions are


about             above              across              after            against


along             among             around             at             before


behind           below              beneath            beside           between


beyond          but                  by                     concerning            down


during            except             for                    from                in


inside             into                 like                   near                of


off                  on                   onto                  out             outside


over               past                regarding          since           through


to                   toward(s)       under                 underneath  until


up                  upon               with                    within            without


Each of the highlighted words in the following sentences is a preposition:

The children climbed the mountain without fear.

(Note: In the above sentence, the preposition “without” introduces the noun “fear” The  prepositional phrase “without fear” functions as an adverb describing how the children climbed.)

There was rejoicing throughout the land when the government was defeated.


What is Conjunction?

You can use a conjunction to link words, phrases, and clauses with each other, as in the following example:

  • I ate the Burger and the pasta.
  • Call the Driver when you are ready.


Coordinating Conjunctions

You use a coordinating conjunction (“and,” “but,” “or,” “nor,” “for,” “so,” or “yet”) to join individual words, phrases, and independent clauses., each of the highlighted words is a coordinating conjunction:

Lilacs and violets are usually purple.

This movie is particularly interesting to feminist film theorists, for the screenplay was written by Mae West.


Subordinating Conjunctions

A subordinating conjunction introduces a dependent clause and indicates the nature of the relationship among the independent clause(s) and the dependent clause(s).

The most common subordinating conjunctions are “after,” “although,” “as,” “because,” “before,” “how,” “if,” “once,” “since,” “than,” “that,” “though,” “till,” “until,” “when,” “where,” “whether,” and “while.” Each of the highlighted words in the following sentences is a subordinating conjunction:

After she had learned to drive, Alice felt more independent.


If the paperwork arrives on time, your cheque will be mailed on Tuesday.

Gerald had to begun his thesis over again when his computer crashed.


Correlative Conjunctions

Correlative conjunctions always appear in pairs — you use them to link equivalent sentence elements. The most common correlative conjunctions are “both…and,” “either…or,” “neither…nor,”, “not only…but also,” “so…as “and” whether…or.” (Technically correlative conjunctions consist simply of a coordinating conjunction linked to an adjective or adverb.)

The highlighted words in the following sentences are correlative conjunctions:

Both my grandfather and my father worked in the steel plant.

(In the above sentence, the correlative conjunction “both…and” is used to link the two noun phrases that act as the compound subject of the sentence: “my grandfather” and “my father”.)

Bring either a Jello salad or a potato scallop.

Corinne is trying to decide whether to go to medical school or to go to law school.

The explosion destroyed not only the school but also the neighboring pub.


What is an interjection?

An interjection is a word added to a sentence to convey emotion. It is not grammatically related to any other part of the sentence.

You usually follow an interjection with an exclamation mark. Interjections are uncommon in formal academic prose, except in direct quotations. The highlighted words in the following sentences are interjections:

Ouch, that hurt!

Oh no, I forgot that the exam was today.

Hey! Put that down!

I heard one guy say to another guy, “He has a new car, eh?”

I don’t know about you but, good lord, I think taxes are too high!

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