Compound Prepositions

Compound Prepositions or complex prepositions consist of two or more words that function as a single preposition. You'll learn about them here!

"Compound Prepositions" in English Grammar

What Are Compound Prepositions?

A preposition can be a single word, like most of the prepositions in the English language. But some prepositions are made up of two or more words that function as a single unit to convey a particular meaning. These are called compound prepositions.

Two-word Prepositions

These prepositions consist of two words, such as:

According to

'According to' is used to attribute a statement or report to a particular person, authority, or source. For example:

According to New York Times Bestseller list, it's an awesome book.

According to the police, the murderer shot him twice.

Because of

'Because of' is used before a noun or a noun phrase to talk about the reason for an action or event.

He couldn't attend the big game, because of his leg injury.

My teacher had to retire because of illness.

Using "because of" as a compound preposition

Due to

'Due to' indicates that something is caused by a particular thing or person. It is similar in meaning to 'because of'.

Due to her courage and skill, she is the top employee of the month.

We canceled the picnic due to bad weather.

Instead of

'Instead of' is used to indicate a substitution for something or someone. It means 'in place of'. For example:

We ordered Champagne instead of Chardonnay.

Could I have tuna instead of ham?

Next to

'Next to' indicates being in close proximity to something or someone. It means 'beside' or 'near'. For example:

Sit next to me.

There was a little girl sitting next to him.

Aside from

The preposition 'aside from' (also 'apart from', especially in British English) can have two meanings: it can indicate an exception or exclusion, meaning 'except for', or it can indicate an addition or inclusion, meaning 'in addition to'. Pay attention to the examples:

Aside from some slight errors, my report was just fine.

Aside from anything else, you owe me this much.

Three-word Prepositions

Here are some of the most common three-word prepositions:

  • In addition to
  • In front of
  • In spite of
  • On account of
  • On top of

In Addition to

'In addition to' is used to introduce an additional item or piece of information following something that has already been mentioned. It is used to indicate that there is more to be considered or included. For example:

In addition to financial expenses, we have to consider other problems.

In Front of

'In front of' describes a position that is further ahead of something or someone, but not very far away. It is often used to indicate a physical location or a relative position of one object or person in relation to another. For example:

The taxi stopped in front of the school.

In Spite of

'In spite of' is used to indicate that something occurs even though there was a particular obstacle or hindrance. It can be used to convey a sense of defiance or determination, as well as surprise or unexpectedness. For example:

In spite of her inability, she is a successful career woman.

On Account of

'On account of' is used to indicate that something is happening or has happened because of a particular reason or circumstance. It is similar in meaning to 'due to' or 'because of'. For example:

She couldn't attend that party on account of her age.

On Top of

In a physical sense, 'on top of' can refer to something that is physically positioned above or on the surface of another object. It can also indicate that someone is dealing with multiple tasks or responsibilities simultaneously, often implying that they are doing so successfully or effectively.

There is a statue on top of the bookcase.

On top of her work, she is managing to take care of her kids at home.


'Prepositions' are the words that govern a noun or pronoun to indicate their relation to other words. They can be made up of only one word or more than one word which is called compound prepositions.

compound prepositions are as follows:

1. according to 5. next to 9. in front of
2. because of/ due to 6. out of 10. in spite of
3. instead of 7. aside from 11. on account of
4. as of 8. in addition to 12. on top of


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Complex Prepositions

Complex prepositions are created by combining two or more simple prepositions like out of and as for. In this lesson, we will discover more about them.

Participle Prepositions

Some participles (i.e. verbs ending with '-ing', '-en' or '-ed') can sometimes act as a preposition. In this lesson, we will learn about the most common ones.


Post means after therefore a preposition that comes after its complement or object is called a postposition.

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