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 made by combining two or more simple prepositions. For example:

Two Prepositions

  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 prepositions have become 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)

The complex preposition usually expresses a relation 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 in a row. Even we can have up to five prepositions in one single sentence!

The mouse ran out from under the bed.

Come on up to over by the picnic table.

Complex Prepositions vs. Compound Prepositions

Compound prepositions are those that consist of a word plus one or more prepositions (e.g., next to, except for, in line with). However, complex prepositions are those that are made up of two or more prepositions.

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

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


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