On https://ell.stackexchange.com/a/65018 there is a discussion about the order of prepositions. I'd like to extend on that question to cover the ordering of prepositional sentences.

As a native Portuguese speaker, I don't expect any specific ordering whatsoever. The Portuguese language has a grammatical category called "aposto" which is basically the license to put the prepositional phrase anywhere, as long as you put it between commas.

I just had a conversation with my son's 2nd grade teacher (I live in the US now) about the following sentence:

I want to, after work, play on the computer

His teacher said that this is not proper, and she corrected the sentence as:

After work I want to play on the computer

My question is: is she being excessive in this correction because she expects a specific form of writing, or is it the case that out of order prepositional phrases are not acceptable in English?

  • 1
    The normal, everyday, conversational way would be to put "After work" at the beginning, yes. But for poetic or rhetorical purposes, you can put it between other phrases. For example, look at the Gettysburg Address. It's full of sentences like "Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, upon this continent, a new nation". – stangdon Jan 8 '16 at 14:48
  • Oh, and it would normally be "on the computer" in English. – stangdon Jan 8 '16 at 14:48
  • Fixed that, since it's unrelated to the question... – Daniel Ruoso Jan 8 '16 at 16:51

I want to, after work, play in the computer not OK

We wouldn't normally interrupt the main verb-phrase and its infinitive-phrase complement

I want to play

with an adverbial phrase like "after school".

We would do either of these:

[after school]   I want   { to play  {on the computer}  }   [after school]

or interrupt "to play on the computer":

I want   { to play [after school] {on the computer}  }   

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