Basic English Usage

Phrases 1

A prepositional phrase is typically made up of a preposition and a noun. These phrases are often used to answer a basic question the reader might have:

I walked. [ Where? ] I walked to the cafeteria.

I returned. [ When? ] I returned after lunch.

I thought. [ How? ] I thought like a scientist.

I argued. [ With whom? ] I argued with my boss.

Let's begin learning prepositional phrases, one by one, focusing on those commonly used by people writing at work:

apart from X = independent of X, or excluding X

The entire team seemed to be losing interest, apart from Andrea, who was growing more intrigued by the possibilities.

Apart from occasional sniffles, I think I'm over my cold.

at odds = not agreeing

His decisions were at odds with the mission of the organization.

She was at odds with the supervisor. They just couldn't see eye to eye.

at the point of doing X = about to do X (e.g., about to do my homework; about to call my sister)

I was at the point of giving up, when I learned a quicker way to get it done.

She is now at the point of telling him what she thinks about him.

at times = sometimes (but not all the time)

He is at times surprisingly kind and charitable.

I feel left out at times, but then somebody emails me and I perk up again.

beside the point = not relevant

The fact that sales are up is beside the point. We need to reduce the cost of the goods we sell.

Changes to benefits are beside the point: they have nothing to do with what we're talking about.

by means of X = accomplish something using X as a method or tool

They supplied water to towns by means of aqueducts.

Let's consider how you will analyze this claim by means of the scientific method.

Lesson: Phrases 1
Module: Prepositions
Course: Basic English Usage