Complex Prepositions

The prepositions which we have looked at so far have all consisted of a single word, such as in, of, at, and to. We refer to these as SIMPLE PREPOSITIONS.  

COMPLEX PREPOSITIONS consist of two- or three-word combinations acting as a single unit. Here are some examples:      

according to 
along with 
apart from 
because of 
contrary to
due to 
except for 
instead of 
prior to 
regardless of

Like simple prepositions, these two-word combinations come before a noun: 

according to Shakespeare 
contrary to my advice 
due to illness 

Three-word combinations often have the following pattern:  

Simple Preposition + Noun + Simple Preposition 

We can see this pattern in the following examples:      

in aid of 
on behalf of  
in front of 
in accordance with 
in line with
in line with 
in relation to 
with reference to 
with respect to 
by means of

Again, these combinations come before a noun:

in aid of charity 
in front of the window 
in line with inflation 


Marginal Prepositions

A number of prepositions have affinities with other word classes. In particular, some prepositions are verbal in form:  

Following his resignation, the minister moved to the country 
I am writing to you regarding your overdraft 
The whole team was there, including John 

We refer to these as MARGINAL PREPOSITIONS. Other marginal prepositions include:

concerning, considering, excluding, given, granted, pending 

Non-verbal marginal prepositions include worth (it's worth ten pounds) and minus (ten minus two is eight).  



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