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.

Complex Prepositions in The English Grammar

What Are Complex Prepositions?

Complex Prepositions are prepositions that are formed by combining two or more simple prepositions.

Two Prepositions

Some of the common complex prepositions formed by combining two prepositions include:

  1. out of
  2. from beneath
  3. up to
  4. in on
  5. from behind
  6. far from
  7. in between
  8. as for
  9. as of
  10. as per
  11. as to
  12. away from
  13. up against

from under is a complex preposition

Some double-word prepositions have turned into a single preposition over time, for example:

  1. within (with+ in)
  2. without (with + out)
  3. upon (up + on)
  4. inside (in + side)
  5. onto (on + to)
  6. into (in + to)
  7. throughout (through + out)


Complex prepositions usually express a sense of movement.

complex prepositions

Now take a look at some examples:

She gazed at us from beneath the brim of her hat

She's up to no good.

He was acting out of spite.

They were all in on the scheme.

More Than Two Prepositions

We can have more than two prepositions acting as a single unit. For example:

The mouse ran out from under the bed.

Come on over to the picnic table.

Complex Prepositions vs. Compound Prepositions

Compound prepositions are those that consist of an adjective, adverb, or noun plus one or more prepositions (e.g., next to, except for, in line with). On the other hand, complex prepositions are those that are made up of two or more prepositions. Compare the examples:

The company's results are in line with stock market expectations. → compound preposition

It's up to you, the people of Scotland, to decide who should win. → complex preposition


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