Specifically, in F. Scott Fitzgerald's 'The Great Gatsby':

With the influence of the dress her personality had also undergone a change.

The phrase "With the influence of the dress" is known as a 'prepositional phrase', but is there a specific term for the preposition starting a prepositional phrase? If so, what is this language technique?

  • You're now asking about the word "with" in your example, but your title is talking about the whole sentence.
    – Lawrence
    Mar 16, 2017 at 12:00
  • The prepositional phrase is not the whole sentence. It is only "With the influence of the dress"
    – herisson
    Mar 16, 2017 at 23:02

2 Answers 2


I'm assuming the previous sentence in the discourse explained some other change to her (e.g., her hair changed color). The prepositional phrase with the influence of her dress functions an adjunct.

In English adjuncts often consist of a prepositional phrase, but not always. So you should cast your net broader than just prepositional phrases. Consult the relevant Wikipedia entry for more details.


The preposition in a "prepositional phrase" is just called preposition:

The literary technique is called prepositional phrase:

  • a combination of a preposition followed by a noun or pronoun.

(Cambridge Dictionary)

Prepositional phrases at the beginning of sentences are common and grammatically correct. When you start a sentence with a prepositional phrase, it's usually a good idea to put a comma after it (as in the examples above). In general, the longer the prepositional phrase, the more you need the comma.

  • After soccer, we go out for pizza.
  • By noon, all the runners should be finished.

Conjunctions to start sentences The Grammarist:

  • If anyone tells you starting sentence with a coordinating conjunction (and, but, for, nor, or, so, yet) is incorrect, hand them any piece of professional writing and have them take a look. In literature, journalism, speeches, and formal writing of all kinds, using these conjunctions to start sentences is more than just acceptable; it’s ubiquitous. Open any book, even one with technical, scholarly, or otherwise formal writing, and you are likely to find numerous examples. There are exceptions, of course, but these are rare. That there is some sort of rule against sentence-beginning conjunctions is an old myth that never seems to go away despite the fact that it is not at all borne out in the writing of actual English speakers.
  • I came across this in my attempted research, is it really that simple? By opening the sentence with a preposition the phrase becomes a prepositional phrase, but is there a specific name for the opening preposition, rather than the phrase as a whole? Mar 16, 2017 at 10:55
  • @GoatsWearHats - so, you are asking if the preposition has a specific name when it is used at the beginning of a sentence? Opening preposition, maybe: english-grammar-revolution.com/list-of-prepositions.html
    – user66974
    Mar 16, 2017 at 10:58
  • I suppose I am. Mar 16, 2017 at 11:00
  • @GoatsWearHats - you should rephrase your question, as of now you are asking the literary technique, that is "prepositional phrase".
    – user66974
    Mar 16, 2017 at 11:03

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