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?

A preposition that comes after its complement or object is called a postposition (post = after).

Prepositions and postpositions together are called adpositions.

English Postpositions

English generally has prepositions rather than postpositions, such as 'in class, under the table.' Although there are a few postposition 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.

What Is a Postpositional Phrase?

Using a Postpositional Phrase

The phrase formed by a postposition together with its complement is called a postpositional phrase. These phrases usually have the function of an adverbial phrase in a sentence.

She was bedridden the whole week through.

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

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.

The woman you saw a moment ago was my mom.

I started my new job some time ago.

Note that with ago, you should use the simple past, not the present perfect.

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'. For example:

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.')

Postposition: Functions

Postpositions can have two main functions within a sentence. They can be:

  • Adjunct Adverbials
  • Disjunct Adverbials

Take a look at some examples:

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

Adjunct adverbial are words, phrases, or clauses that provides necessary information to an entire clause.

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

Disjunct adverbials are words or phrases that provides additional information to an entire clause.


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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