Sentence Building with Prepositional Phrases

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In this exercise, you will continue to apply the basic strategies outlined in Introduction to Sentence Combining. Combine the sentences in each set into a single clear sentence containing at least one prepositional phrase. Omit words that are needlessly repeated, but don't leave out any important details. If you run into problems, you may find it helpful to review the following pages:

After you have completed the exercise, compare your new sentences with the original sentences on page two. Keep in mind that many combinations are possible, and in some cases, you may prefer your own sentences to the original versions.

  1. A mouse darted.
    It darted across the salad bar.
    This happened during the luncheon.
  2. We traveled this summer.
    We traveled by train.
    We traveled from Biloxi.
    We traveled to Dubuque.
  3. The convertible swerved, crashed, and caromed.
    It swerved off the road.
    It crashed through the guardrail.
    It caromed off a maple tree.
  4. Mick planted seeds.
    He planted them in his garden.
    He did this after the quarrel.
    The quarrel was with Mr. Jimmy.
  5. Grandpa dropped his teeth.
    His teeth were false.
    His teeth dropped into a glass.
    There was prune juice in the glass.
  6. Lucy played.
    She was behind the sofa.
    She was with her friend.
    Her friend was imaginary.
    They played for hours.
  1. There was a man.
    He wore a chicken costume.
    He dashed across the field.
    He did this before the ballgame.
    The ballgame was on Sunday afternoon.
  2. A man stood, looking down.
    He stood upon a railroad bridge.
    The bridge was in northern Alabama.
    He was looking down into the water.
    The water was twenty feet below.
    The water was swift.
  1. The gray-flannel fog closed off the Salinas Valley.
    It was the fog of winter.
    The fog was high.
    The Salinas Valley was closed off from the sky.
    And the Salinas Valley was closed off from all the rest of the world.
  2. I climbed to my perch.
    I did this one night.
    The night was hot.
    The night was in the summer.
    The night was in 1949.
    It was my usual perch.
    My perch was in the press box.
    The press box was cramped.
    The press box was above the stands.
    The stands were wooden.
    These were the stands of the baseball park.
    The baseball park was in Lumberton, North Carolina.

After you have completed the sentence-building exercise on page one, compare your new sentences with the sample combinations below. Keep in mind that many combinations are possible, and in some cases, you may prefer your own sentences to the original versions.

Sample Combinations

  1. During the luncheon, a mouse darted across the salad bar.
  2. This summer we traveled by train from Biloxi to Dubuque.
  3. The convertible swerved off the road, crashed through the guardrail, and caromed off a maple tree.
  4. After his quarrel with Mr. Jimmy, Mick planted seeds in his garden.
  5. Grandpa dropped his false teeth into a glass of prune juice.
  6. Lucy played behind the couch for hours with her imaginary friend.
  1. Before the ballgame on Sunday afternoon, a man in a chicken costume dashed across the field.
  2. A man stood upon a railroad bridge in northern Alabama, looking down into the swift waters twenty feet below.
    (Ambrose Bierce, "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge")
  3. The high gray-flannel fog of winter closed off the Salinas Valley from the sky and from all the rest of the world.
    (John Steinbeck, "The Chrysanthemums")
  4. One hot night in the summer of 1949, I climbed to my usual perch in the cramped press box above the wooden stands of the baseball park in Lumberton, North Carolina.
    (Tom Wicker, "Baseball")

For additional practice using prepositional phrases, visit the following pages: