How can you tell if a prepositional phrase us a adv or adj?

Adjective Phrases:
A phrase is a group of words, without a subject and verb, that acts as one part of speech. An adjective phrase is a prepositional phrase that modifies a noun or pronoun by telling what kind or which one.

The woman with the tan briefcase is the mayor. (Which woman?)
We have always liked the big house on the hill. (Which house?)

Adverb Phrases:
An adverb phrase is a prepositional phrase that modifies a verb, adjective, or adverb by pointing out where, when, in what manner, or to what extent.

After the game, we went into town. (Went when? Went where?)
Tanya felt good about her report card. (Good to what extent?)
What the answerer above has written is perfectly sound. A trick to ask what is being described. If it's a noun, then you're talking about an adjective (adjectives modify nouns). If it's a verb, you're talking about an adverb (adverbs modify verbs).
By how it's used in the sentence. For example:

Adjective phrases tell something about a noun.

I have a bag of donuts. ("of donuts" modifies the noun "bag": what's in the bag? donuts)

How much is that doggie in the window? ("in the window" modifies the noun "doggie": which doggie? the one in the window)

Adverb phrases tell something about a verb, an adverb, or an adjective.

She threw her homework in the trash. ("in the trash" modifies the verb "threw"; where did she throw it? in the trash)

Somewhere over the rainbow, bluebirds fly. ("over the rainbow" modifies the adverb "somewhere", which modifies the verb "fly")

Your eyes are full of tears. ("of tears" modifies the adjective "full")

As a practical matter, ask yourself first if the prepositional phrase modifies a noun. If it does, it is used as an adjective. If it doesn.t, it is used as an adverb. You don't really need to take the time to figure out whether it modifies a verb, an adverb or an adjective.
You have to know what the word is modifying; if it's an adjective, it will be modifying a noun or a pronoun. Thus, "that's a pretty skirt" employs an adjective because the SKIRT (the noun) is being described by the adjective "pretty". An ADVERB will modify the verb, adjective or another adverb; thus, " he runs slowly" can apply to an adverbial clause because slowly (the adverb) is describing how the person is running. The same prinicples will apply to your prepositional phrase. Also remember that adverbs can also be time expressions. Hope that helps

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