Clause Pattern: Subject – Verb – Prepositional Object
Understanding the construction and use of the subject – verb – prepositional object clause pattern
This pattern consists of a subjectSee the glossary definition , a prepositional verbSee the glossary definition , and a prepositional objectSee the glossary definition .
If wesubject come acrossprepositional verb a new virusprepositional object … our immune cells can’t recognise it straight away. (Quinn and Mehta 2020)
Many prepositional verbs can be replaced be a single lexical verb, as in this case: "come across" = "discover"
One big scientific studysubject looked atprepositional verb 168 different groups of peopleindirect object , from small communities that gather and hunt their own food, to bigger and busier cities . (Cushing 2020)
Many prepositional verbs can be replaced be a single lexical verb, as in this case: "looked at" = "examined"
Mother chimpanzeessubject care forprepositional verb their own infantsprepositional object and no other chimps help, not even fathers or grandparents. ((Bogin 2022)
Unstable atomssubject turn intoprepositional verb stable atomsprepositional object over time at a steady and predictable pace. (Skromne 2022)
Many peoplesubject hear the name “Big Bang” and think aboutprepositional verb a giant explosion of stuff prepositional object , like a bomb going off . (Lam 2020)
The verb and its preposition may be separated by a noun phrase:
During the 2011 to 2012 financial year, London’s universitiessubject contributedprepositional verb a total of £5.8 billionnoun phrase toprepositional verb the cityprepositional object and supported 145,921 jobs (directly and indirectly) across all skill levels. (Addie 2017)
The US plastic recycling industrysubject has askedprepositional verb congressnoun phrase forprepositional verb a US$1 billion (£800 million) bailoutprepositional object. (Stringfellow, Williams, and Roberts 2020)
Our immune cellssubject — T cells and B cells — can defendprepositional verb usnoun phrase fromprepositional verb virusesprepositional object. (Quinn and Mehta 2020)
This pattern is also used with passive verbs where what was the object in the active is moved to a subject position (this is common in academic texts).
Passive: Additionally, many modern storiessubject are based onprepositional verb older storiesindirect object. (Gruner 2019)
Active: Writerssubject baseprepositional verb many modern storiesnoun phrase onprepositional verb older storiesprepositional object .
Passive: We also know that intense emotionssubject are associated withprepositional verb stronger memories and preferencesprepositional object. (McAndrew 2019)
Active: We also know that wesubject associateprepositional verb intense emotionsnoun phrase withprepositional verb stronger memories and preferencesprepositional object. (McAndrew 2019)