When Is Adverb A Preposition: 7 Facts Read it First

In this article, we are going to learn facts and explanations related to the topic ‘When Is Adverb A Preposition?’.

An adverb can perform role of a preposition if it shows link between a noun or noun equivalent with another noun or noun equivalent in the same sentence rather than modifying action of the sentence.

Can an adverb be a preposition?

Yes, an adverb can play role of a preposition in some sentences. When an adverb plays role of a preposition in a sentence then it can be termed with any of the following names.

First Name – Prepositional adverbs

Second Name – Adverb Prepositional Phrase

Third Name – Adverbial Particles

Example 1 – My children like to run in a sideway motion along the beach.

Example 2 – My son likes to run along his siblings in the beach.

Explanation –

Here, we can see a single word ‘along’ in both the examples but its function is different in two sentences. In the first example, the word ‘along’ is performing the role of a ‘Preposition’ but in the second example, the same word ‘along’ is playing the role of a ‘Adverb’. Thus, we can say that an adverb can sometime play role of a preposition.

How can an adverb be a preposition?

An adverb can become a preposition in a sentence when it plays role of a preposition in that particular sentence. At first we need to know functions of a preposition in a sentence. A preposition is used in a sentence for mainly four purposes. An adverb needs to serve one of those four purposes two be termed as ‘prepositional adverb’ of that sentence. Let’s look at those four purposes.

  • Purpose one is to show ‘Movement’ of noun, pronoun or noun equivalent in a sentence.
  • Purpose two is to show ‘Time’ of noun, pronoun or noun equivalent in a sentence.
  • Purpose three is to show ‘Location’ of noun, pronoun or noun equivalent in a sentence.
  • Purpose four is to connect or to show link between a noun, a pronoun or a noun equivalent with another noun, pronoun or noun equivalent of a same sentence.

Example 1 – Don’t drive around Victoria Memorial. Let’s sit at one place and enjoy the monument.

Example 2 – We didn’t found any bus stand around the monument, Victoria Memorial.

Explanation –

Here, we can see use of same word ‘around’ in two forms of ‘parts of speech’ in two examples. In the first example, the word ‘around’ is performing the role of an ‘adverb’ as it is modifying the action ‘Driving’. In the second example, the same adverb ‘around’ has become a ‘Preposition’ as it is connecting the word ‘bus stand’ with the monument ‘Victoria Memorial’.

When can an adverb be a preposition?

An adverb can be a preposition in below listed situations.

Situation 1 – When an adverb doesn’t modify any action of ‘verb’ but connects a noun, a pronoun or noun equivalent with another noun, pronoun or noun equivalent of the same sentence.

Situation 2 – When an adverb doesn’t modify any action of ‘verb’ but shows location of the subject of the sentence. The subject of the sentence must be a noun, pronoun or noun equivalent.

Situation 3 – When an adverb doesn’t modify any action of ‘verb’ but shows time of the subject of the sentence. The subject of the sentence must be a noun, pronoun or noun equivalent.

Situation 4 – When an adverb doesn’t modify any action of ‘verb’ but shows movement of the subject of the sentence. The subject of the sentence must be a noun, pronoun or noun equivalent.

Example 1 – The boxer with red shirt likes to hurt underneath.

Example 2 – My pet dog likes to sleep underneath my study table.

Explanation –

Here, we can see use of same word ‘underneath’ in two forms of ‘parts of speech’ in two examples. In the first example, the word ‘underneath’ is performing the role of an ‘adverb’ as it is modifying the action ‘Hurt’. In the second example, the same adverb ‘underneath’ has become a ‘Preposition’ as it shows location of the noun or noun equivalent ‘Dog’ instead of modifying any verb.

Where can an adverb be a preposition?

An adverb can be a preposition by marking location, time or movement of the noun, pronoun or noun equivalent of the sentence instead of modifying the action of the sentence. We must keep in mind that not all adverbs can be used as prepositions. There are some specified adverbs which can be used as a ‘preposition’.

when is adverb a preposition
Five Examples of ‘Adverbs’ as a ‘Preposition’

List of Adverbs which can be used as ‘Preposition’ –

Serial NumberAdverbs which can be used as ‘Preposition’
1about
2above
3across
4after
5along
6around
7before
8behind
9below
10between
11beyond
12by
13down
14in
15inside
16near
17on
18opposite
19out
20Outside
21over
22past
23round
24since
25through
26throughout
27under
28up
29within
30without
List of ‘Adverbs’ which can be used as ‘Preposition’

Example 1 – It is a myth that we must run across the road to avoid attack of any wild animal.

Example 2 – My daughter crawls across the dining room.

Explanation –

Here, we can see use of same word ‘across’ in two forms of ‘parts of speech’ in two examples. In the first example, the word ‘across’ is performing the role of an ‘adverb’ as it is modifying the action ‘Running’. In the second example, the adverb ‘across’ is performing the role of a ‘Preposition’ by showing movement of the subject of the sentence. Here, the object of the preposition ‘across’ is the dining table.

Difference between adverb and preposition –

The difference between an adverb and a preposition lies on the purpose which they serve.

Difference One –

Purpose of an adverb is to modify or to describe the action of the sentence. An adverb can modify or describe another verb, adverb, adjective or equivalent. Thus, we can say that an adverb is all about action of the sentence. Purpose of a preposition is to modify any movement, time or location of the noun or noun equivalent of the sentence. A preposition also helps to connect  or to create link between a noun, pronoun or noun equivalent of the sentence with another sentence.

Difference Two –

An adverb must not have an object while a preposition must always have an object.

Example 1 – You have to look behind you to find your birthday surprise.

Example 2 – Sandip’s pet cat loves following behind.

Explanation –

In the first example, the word ‘behind’ performing the role of a preposition and in the second example, the same word is performing the role of an adverb.

Adverb as a preposition examples –

Example 1 – We aboard the plane become scared as it was their first flight.

Explanation –

Here, the adverb which is performing as a ‘Preposition’ is ‘aboard’. We can easily mark the adverb ‘aboard’ as a ‘preposition’ because it is not modifying any action. The object of the preposition ‘aboard’ is ‘the plane’.

Example 2 – We must walk alongside the left side of road.

Explanation –

Here, the adverb which is performing as a ‘Preposition’ is ‘alongside’. We can easily mark the adverb ‘alongside’ as a ‘preposition’ because it is not modifying any action. The object of the preposition ‘alongside’ is ‘the left side of road’.

Example 3 – We must find some rest house to stay around the mountain area.

Explanation –

Here, the adverb which is performing as a ‘Preposition’ is ‘around’. We can easily mark the adverb ‘around’ as a ‘preposition’ because it is not modifying any action. The object of the preposition ‘around’ is ‘the mountain area’.

Example 4 – Most of the big cities were astride a river in ancient days.

Explanation –

Here, the adverb which is performing as a ‘Preposition’ is ‘astride’. We can easily mark the adverb ‘astride’ as a ‘preposition’ because it is not modifying any action. The object of the preposition ‘astride’ is ‘a river’.

Example 5 – Rina likes to wear kurtis below her knees.

Explanation –

Here, the adverb which is performing as a ‘Preposition’ is ‘below’. We can easily mark the adverb ‘below’ as a ‘preposition’ because it is not modifying any action. The object of the preposition ‘below’ is ‘her knees’.

Example 6 – There were multicolored coral beneath the sea of Maldives.

Explanation –

Here, the adverb which is performing as a ‘Preposition’ is ‘beneath’. We can easily mark the adverb ‘beneath’ as a ‘preposition’ because it is not modifying any action. The object of the preposition ‘beneath’ is ‘the sea of Maldives’.

Example 7 – Who is that pretty girl between two flower plants.

Explanation –

Here, the adverb which is performing as a ‘Preposition’ is ‘between’. We can easily mark the adverb ‘between’ as a ‘preposition’ because it is not modifying any action. The object of the preposition ‘between’ is ‘two flower plants’.

Example 8 – We need to go out to a sunny place from this wet place.

Explanation –

Here, the adverb which is performing as a ‘Preposition’ is ‘out’. We can easily mark the adverb ‘out’ as a ‘preposition’ because it is not modifying any action. The object of the preposition ‘out’ is ‘to a sunny place’.

Example 9 – Though I hurt him with my words but I didn’t mean to hurt him.

Explanation –

Here, the adverb which is performing as a ‘Preposition’ is ‘to’. We can easily mark the adverb ‘to’ as a ‘preposition’ because it is not modifying any action. The object of the preposition ‘to’ is ‘him’.

Example 10 – There is a large book trunk under the bed of my father.

Explanation –

Here, the adverb which is performing as a ‘Preposition’ is ‘under’. We can easily mark the adverb ‘under’ as a ‘preposition’ because it is not modifying any action. The object of the preposition ‘under’ is ‘the bed of my father’.

Conclusion –

Sometime prepositional adverb leads to the concept ‘Phrasal Verbs’. Phrasal verbs are mainly consists of a verb or an adverb and a particle but must always be considered as a ‘Single Semantic Unit’.

Scroll to Top