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

Postpositions in The English Grammar

What Are Postpositions?

Postpositions are a type of grammatical particle used to indicate the relationship between a noun or pronoun and other elements in a sentence. Unlike prepositions, which are placed before the complement or object, postpositions are placed after the noun or pronoun they modify. Together, prepositions and postpositions form a group called adpositions.

English Postpositions

English generally uses prepositions rather than postpositions, as in 'in class' and 'under the table'. However, there are a few examples of postpositions in the English language, such as:

Now take a look at some examples:

Fame and fortune notwithstanding, Donna never forgot her hometown.

The garden was about four miles round.

His wife died ten years ago.

Using a Postpositional Phrase

The Postposition 'Ago'

'Ago' is used to show how far back in the past something happened. Therefore, we should use time-related words before it. For example:

The woman you saw a moment ago was my mom.

I started my new job some time ago.

Note that when using 'ago', the simple past tense should be used, not the
present perfect tense.

She started a new job a few weeks ago. (Not 'She has started a new job a few weeks ago.')


Do not use another preposition such as 'at,' 'in,' 'on' or 'since' before a phrase with 'ago'.

I first met John three years ago. (Not 'I first met John at/in/three years ago.')

I met my girlfriend two months ago. (Not 'I met my girlfriend since two months ago.')

What Is a Postpositional Phrase?

A postpositional phrase is a phrase formed by a postposition and its complement, and it typically functions as an adverbial phrase in a sentence.

She was bedridden the whole week through.

Jokes aside, I really think you should consider this plan.

Postpositions: Functions

Postpositions can serve two main functions in a sentence. They can be:

  • Adjunct Adverbials
  • Disjunct Adverbials

Adjunct adverbials are words, phrases, or clauses that add necessary information to a clause. Disjunct adverbials are words or phrases that provide additional information to a clause. They are often set off by commas, and they can function as a comment on the whole sentence or as a modifier of the speaker's attitude or stance. Take a look at some examples:

Unfortunately we had to live a mile apart. (adjunct adverbials)

Jokes aside, I should really call him. (disjunct adverbial)


Circumposition is when a prepositional phrase contains two prepositions, one at the beginning of the phrase and one at the end. These are uncommon in the English language, however, some examples can be:

  1. for God's sake
  2. for Christ's sake
  3. for goodness' sake
  4. for Heaven's sake
  5. for Pete's sake

Take a look at some examples:

For goodness' sake, don't be late!

What is it now, for God's sake?


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