Proposition for Prepositions

Is your mind unmoored and adrift, frantically splashing around in a sea full of unformed ideas with no life preserver and the only buoy in sight wears a hanging sign that rocks the words “Writer’s Block?”  Fear not. I’m here, a wordmaid supported by prepositional fins, to help you float your imagination to that wonderful land, the Land of Word-filled Pages.

For a writer with almost no academic credentials, I have something to say about writer’s block, something I was taught in the seventh grade. It has always worked well for me, and I’m amazed that I have not, as of this moment, at the ripe-good-age of  I’mnottelling, seen any of the (more) accomplished writers suggest.

The way around writers block is (drum-roll) to make a list of prepositional phases and chose one to build a full sentence upon.

Let’s take one of my favorites:

inside the tree

I’ll even add a photo (for imaginative purpose.)

What’s inside? Photo by Lenee Cobb

The way I was taught to recognize a preposition was this: any word phrase that can fit before the words “the mountain” is a prepositional phrase.

…around the mountain

…beside the mountain

…on top of the mountain

…behind the mountain

…beneath the mountain

…through the mountain

…over the mountain

So vivid do I recall that lesson!

Around 1969/70

(I confess)

It was a dreary day of high gray clouds outside the line of windows and monotony within my seventh-grade homeroom class of Mann Jr. High School. Mr. George, a tall, thin man with black-rimmed glasses, one of the new, young teachers at the school, was in his “groove.” He explained his trick of recognizing prepositions and then we played the preposition game. Since that day I have used it to overcome writers block many times, but that is not the only time I use it.

I enjoy adding to it . . . making up other sentences. Often times I’ll begin my stories in this way.

Of course, you can substitute “the mountain” with something else. Here are some suggestions:

the log the pond the notepad
…under the log …into the pond …by the notepad
…around the log …along the pond …on the notepad
…inside the log …within the pond …with the notepad
…within the log ….throughout the pond …across the notepad

Now just build around one of the above phrases.


There were only a few seconds left before the late afternoon sun slipped behind Storm King Mountain. Katheryn and Eva had to hurry inside the damp, rotting, hollowed Pacific Red Cedar before that happened in order to unlock the magic.  . . .

  • Deadly green algae spread throughout the pond, waiting in silence for its next victim.
  • Tiny brown specks were splattered across the small yellow notepad she found lying at the bottom of the trashcan beside his desk.
  • The nuclear blast hucked a curve-ball of fire around three sides of the mountain, leaving everything directly behind the mountain unscathed, including us.

Fare-thee-well my fellow scribes, and have fun with your prepositions. And yet, remember me here—your lowly writing coach—and please, entertain me (and other readers) with your comments about this post. May prepositions and their phrases never again bore you.


Yes, I did use two Daily Word Prompts in this post. I couldn’t help myself. It’s a hot day and so I’ll blame my goofiness on too much wading around in the kiddie pool, flinging up ideas inside bubbles of waterspray with my cold, bare, toes.


4 thoughts on “Proposition for Prepositions

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