Inverted: To the east of the building is the car park.

Someone said my sentence was wrong. I want to explain to her that the sentence is inverted. I put the bold part ahead. Is the bold part called the adverbial? I put the adverbial ahead and therefore the verb should also be put ahead.

Normal: the car park is to the east of the building.

  • 2
    The person who said it's 'wrong' is herself wrong. 'To the east is a secluded area of the War Memorial and gardens with a mature sycamore backed by a garden copse area of mature trees' - the inversion is a little formal, but that's all. May 16, 2023 at 16:36
  • In the example I gave above, a careful writer might feel that the long sentence is clearer, more elegant, and easier to comprehend if the information contained in the prepositional phrase is placed at the beginning, rather than at the end following 'is'. May 16, 2023 at 19:28

2 Answers 2


The bold phrase is a prepositional phrase, with "to" as its head. In that sentence, it has an adverbial function, so yes, it's an adverbial.

A simple test is to see what question the phrase answers. If it answers a "what" or "who" question, it's probably a noun phrase. But if it answers a "when", "where", "why" or "how" question, it's an adverbial. In this case, the question is "where", so the phrase is adverbial.

When we're talking about parts of a sentence, we should refer to phrase types rather than functions, so "I put the prepositional phrase ahead..." is a more accurate way to phrase it.


This is a "prepositional phrase," which is a preposition combined with its object and modifiers. Words that are used before a noun to indicate direction, location, or time are prepositions. In this case, "to" is a preposition, indicating the location of the car park in reference to the building.

  • But is the prepositional phrase adverbial?
    – gotube
    May 16, 2023 at 16:33
  • 1
    @gotube it appears so, especially now that I've read your answer ;)
    – Esther
    May 16, 2023 at 16:42

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