List of English prepositions


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See also: English prepositions

This is a list of English prepositions.

Contents

Prototypical prepositions[edit]

The following are single-word prepositions that can take a noun phrase complement following the preposition. Prepositions in this section may also take other kinds of complements in addition to noun phrase complements. Prepositions marked with an asterisk can be used transitively or intransitively; that is, they can take noun phrase complements (e.g., he was in the house) or not (e.g., he was in).

Intransitive prepositions[edit]

The following are single-word intransitive prepositions. This portion of the list includes only prepositions that are always intransitive; prepositions that can occur with or without noun phrase complements (that is, transitively or intransitively) are listed with the prototypical prepositions. Note that dictionaries and grammars informed by concepts from traditional grammar may categorize these intransitive prepositions as adverbs.

Conjunctive Prepositions[edit]

The following are single-word prepositions that take clauses as complements. Prepositions marked with an asterisk in this section can only take non-finite clauses as complements. Note that dictionaries and grammars informed by concepts from traditional grammar may categorize these conjunctive prepositions as subordinating conjunctions.

Postpositions[edit]

The following are postpositions, prepositions whose complements typically precede them. Note that some grammars classify prepositions and postpositions as different kinds of adpositions while other grammars categorize both under the heading of the more common variety in the language.

Complex prepositions[edit]

The following are prepositions that consist of multiple words. They are categorized according to their structure.

Preposition + preposition[edit]

Preposition + (article) + noun + preposition[edit]

English has many idiomatic expressions that act as prepositions that can be analyzed as a preposition followed by a noun (sometimes preceded by the definite or, occasionally, indefinite article) followed by another preposition.[85] Common examples include:

Other complex prepositions[edit]

The following complex prepositions do not follow either of the common structures for complex prepositions.

Archaic, dialectal, or specialized[edit]

The following prepositions are not widely used in Present-Day English. Some, such as bating and forby, are archaic and typically only used to convey the tone of a bygone era. Others, such as ayond and side, are generally used only by speakers of a particular variety of English. Yet others are generally only used in specialized contexts, such as abaft in nautical settings and dehors in law.

Prototypical prepositions[edit]

Intransitive prepositions[edit]

Conjunctive prepositions[edit]

  • but (archaic in uses such as “There wasn’t one among them but would have taken my place.”)[65]

Postpositions[edit]

Complex prepositions[edit]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Abroad can also be used transitively in a rare sense of the term: “We scatter abroad the face of the earth.”[56]
  2. ^ Ahead can also be used transitively in a rare sense of the term: “I saw the figure of my friend ahead me.”[58]
  3. ^ Aside can also be used transitively in certain regional varieties: “The boys were often seated aside the girls.”[59]
  4. ^ Forth can also be used transitively in a rare sense of the term: “I may fetch you from forth this loathsome prison house.”[60]
  5. ^ Onward could also be used transitively in an obsolete sense of the term: “Two of that troupe conducted him onward the way to Babylon.”[61]
  6. ^ Together could also be used transitively in an obsolete sense of the term: “You will find the worth and value of it together the whole process of the great work of sugar making.”[62]
  7. ^ Upward could also be used transitively in an obsolete sense of the term: “Whether to surprise the squatted hare or flit upward ragged precipices.”[63]
  8. ^ An obsolete sense of from could also take a finite clause: “From we rise till we go to bed.”[66]
  9. ^ An obsolete sense of without could also take a finite clause: “Man can put up with only so much without he descends a rung or two on the old evolutionary ladder.”[67]
  10. ^ This sense of upside seems limited to discussion of strikes to the head: “He went upside her head with a meat mallet.” “A white cop comes up and go upside your knot.”[284]

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