myQBook Grammar Concept



Common Mistakes: Preposition or Adverb?

Sometimes, confusion arises when there are words that can be prepositions or adverbs. Down, outside, and inside are just a few examples of words that can be confused this way. A great way to find out how the word is being used is to take a careful look at what follows the word. If a noun or pronoun comes somewhere after the word, check to see if the word relates the clause to that noun or pronoun. If it does, the word is a preposition. If not, it is most likely an adverb.

Look carefully at the following examples; try to spot which one contains the preposition and which one contains the adverb.

"Terry walked toward the back door inside the office."

"Tina ran inside, slamming the door behind her."

In example #1, is "inside" a preposition or an adverb?

·         First, check to see if a noun or pronoun comes somewhere after the word. The noun "office" does follow "inside".

·         Next, check to see if the word relates the clause to that noun. "Inside" is relating the rest of the clause to "office", in that the back door is inside the office. Therefore, "inside" is a preposition.

Example #2 also contains the word "inside". Is this "inside" a preposition or an adverb?

·         First, check to see if a noun or pronoun follows the word. The noun "door" and the pronoun "her" do come after "inside".

·         Next, check to see if the word relates the clause to that noun or pronoun. The sentence doesn't say that Tina ran "inside" anything; it only mentions that she slammed a door behind her. Here "inside" isn't relating the rest of the clause to anything, so it's not a preposition.

In this case, the word "inside" modifies the verb “ran” and hence it is an adverb. It tells where Tina ran.

Knowing the difference between prepositions and adverbs helps you to avoid grammatical mistakes in your writing. Since grammatical mistakes take the reader’s attention away from what you are trying to say, you should avoid them as much as possible.

 





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Prepositions
Interjections

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