Types of Introductory Phrases With Examples

Introductory phrases are often used when you want to set…

Introductory phrases are often used when you want to set the scene for your statement. They can come in various types but typically appear after an independent clause. To check your punctuation when using introductory phrases, refer to the examples of introductory phrases in this article as a guide.

We’ll also share the different types of introductory phrases that you can use in your writing. Let’s get into it!

A pen and reading glasses placed on top of an open notebook.
Photo by Trent Erwin on Unsplash

What Are Introductory Phrases?

Introductory phrases are similar to a clause, only that it doesn’t have their subject and verb. It relies on the subject and the verb of the main clause. This sets the scene for the main sentence.

The introductory phrase is typically a declarative sentence and is used to transition to a more detailed sentence. When you use an introductory line in your writing, you signal your reader to the message that’s going to follow it.

Types and Examples of Introductory Phrases

According to English Literature, there are five main types of introductory phrases. Let’s discuss these types in more detail.

1. Prepositional Phrases

Prepositional phrases begin with a preposition and include their object. It can act as a noun, adjective, or adverb.

For example:

  • Steve looked behind his brother.

In this sentence, the prepositional phrase is “behind his brother.” This acts as an adverb describing where steve was looking.

2. Appositive Phrases

Appositive phrases are nouns that describe another noun. They usually follow the nouns they describe. But in some cases, they can be written before.

For Example:

  • My childhood friend, Hannah, loved music.

The noun in this sentence is “friend,” and the appositive is “Hannah.” Notice how the appositive is placed after the noun of the sentence.

3. Participle Phrases

Participles are verbs that serve as modifiers. They provide information about nouns and noun units in a sentence, just as an adjective or adverb does.

For Example:

  • After scrutinizing the building, the architect decided that the best course of action was to redesign the infrastructure.

4. Infinitive Phrases

An infinitive is a word followed by a base form of a verb. It’s used to describe your verb in its abstract without having to do with a subject. These phrases often act as an adverb.

For Example:

  • To ace the exam, you need to study hard.

5. Absolute Phrases

These phrases are used to give more information about the circumstances in the main clause. It has all the elements of an independent clause except the verb “to be.” 

For example:

Tim could be heard down the hall, his loud laughter echoing across the school.

Should You Use Commas After Introductory Phrases?

This is a very common question that writers come across, and many writers never come to a definitive answer on it. The short answer is: YES. But there are a few exceptions. It can depend on the type of intro phrase and what you are writing.

When in doubt, it’s best to consult your pre-written sentence. You can read it aloud a few times to see if any commas sound awkward or if they interrupt the flow of your sentence. You can check out the examples of introductory phrases mentioned in the previous section as a reference.

Here are some instances where a comma after your introductory phrase won’t be necessary:

  • To separate your subject and your predicate
  • When it’s a restrictive appositive phrase
  • In prepositional phrases that are less than five words

To Wrap Up

Try your best to capture your reader’s attention when writing an introductory phrase. Guide them through the rest of your essay, and make the essay cohesive. Most introductory phrases provide a preview of the content or the point which you’re going to make. They are also used to introduce all of the significant points you will cover in the body of the essay.

Frequently asked questions

What is a short introductory phrase?

An introductory phrase starts a sentence. The subject and verb do not have their own. It uses instead the main clause’s subject and verb. The intro helps set the stage for the main part of the sentence. This helps convey the message that is coming to the reader.

How do you identify an introductory phrase?

At its most basic level, an introductory phrase is a group of words that come before the main clause in a sentence. This helps the reader understand the main clause better. An introduction is not a complete clause; it does not have a subject and a verb of its own. The subject or verb may be present, but it cannot have both.

What is an introductory prepositional phrase examples?

An example of an introductory phrase is:. The phrase “around this time of year” is a prepositional phrase, and since it is at the beginning of the sentence, it is an introductory preposition.

What are 20 examples of prepositions?

Prepositions are used in Sentences before 6 o’clock. Afterward, you can play video games. Brains are located inside the skull. She is dancing with him, as a dance partner.

What are the 3 types of introductory elements in a sentence?

  • Usually, introductions are names, adverbs, salutations, or interjections.
  • An introductory element is any word, phrase, or dependent clause that precedes the main independent clause in a sentence.

Can you have two introductory phrases?

The comma should separate two introductory words if they convey different meanings. Obviously, they shouldn’t do anything else.

Is in fact an introductory phrase?

The phrase “In fact” as a sentence-initial disjunct phrase or introductory phrase is used more frequently than the sentence-final position.

What are 5 examples of prepositional phrases?

aboutbelowoff
atdespitesince
because ofdownthrough
beforeduringthroughout
behindexceptto

What is an introductory phrase example sentence?

There are dependent clauses that provide background information or set the stage for the main part of a sentence, the independent clause. For example, athletes have to exercise every day to win. We threw the ball to Smokey since he kept barking.

Do introductory phrases need commas?

There are few complete sentences in the intro. Subjects and verbs are not included in them. They are not prepositional phrases, appositive phrases, participle phrases, infinitive phrases, or absolute phrases. Use a comma after an introductory phrase or clause to help readers avoid confusion.

What is an example of an introductory element?

Marathon runners seemed to keep the race going forever. It is a prepositional clause because it contains a subject (man) and a verb (ran). At night, people have a harder time driving.

How are commas used in introductory phrases?

Commas after introductory a) clauses, b) phrases, or c) words before the main clause are useful. a. For introductory clauses, the most common starter words to use are after, although, as, because, if, since, when, while. When I was eating, the cat scratched at the door as I was getting ready.

What are introductory adverbs?

In order to describe verbs and adjectives, adverbs are used. They can also be used to modify whole clauses or sentences. These adverbs are often used at the beginning of sentences or clauses when this happens. Adverbs are introductory words on this site.

What are 5 examples of introductory?

These words and phrases are used to connect large ideas on a paragraph-level. However, phrases and words are also considered to be introductory in the sentence. However, On the other hand, Furthermore, Therefore, Thereafter, Consequently, Next, Finally, In conclusion, For example, Ultimately, etc.

What are 30 examples of prepositions?

  • The chair was set up.
  • The girl was hiding under the table.
  • In the beach, her ring was lost.
  • Over the bridge, he drove.
  • A cat jumped off the counter.
  • Anthony owns the book.
  • The couple was sitting by the tree.
  • Milk is in the fridge.
Types of Introductory Phrases With Examples

Abir is a data analyst and researcher. Among her interests are artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing. As a humanitarian and educator, she actively supports women in tech and promotes diversity.

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