Compound Prepositions

What are Compound Prepositions?

Compound prepositions are combination words that comprise two or three smaller words linked together. Compound prepositions serve the same function as single-word prepositions, which is to connect nouns, pronouns, and phrases in a sentence.

Some examples of common compound prepositions are ‘in spite of’, ‘due to’, ‘outside of’, ‘with regard to’ and ‘in addition to’. Compound prepositions add variety to our sentences and give us an opportunity to express complex ideas in a succinct fashion.

Furthermore, these compound words allow us to join multiple elements into one idea which can shorten our sentences and make them easier for readers to digest. Compound prepositions are an important part of the English language and can be used effectively in both formal and informal contexts.

Compound Prepositions Rules

Learning these four critical rules when using compound prepositions will help communication become clearer and easier. With these four rules firmly entrenched in one’s grammar skillset, any English speaker can properly construct sentences with ease!

ObjectsFirst, always make sure the preposition has an object following it – otherwise, you may end up with a sentence that is barely comprehensible or even incorrect.
PlacementSecond, prepositions should not be used at the beginning of a sentence; instead, include them later as part of a larger phrase.
Reading AloudThird, avoid ending a sentence with a preposition – read your sentence aloud if you need help determining where it feels right.
ContextLastly, take care to choose the appropriate preposition based on purpose and context; using more than one can lead to confusing sentences.
Compound Prepositions Rules and Explanations Table
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Compound Prepositions Examples

Compound prepositions refer to phrases that occur when two or more prepositions are combined together to form one long phrase. While they can be tricky to master, remembering the basic examples of compound prepositions can help improve fluency in any language.

Common examples include:

  • ‘Due to’
  • ‘In spite of’
  • ‘Along with’
  • ‘On behalf of’

Compound prepositions are often used interchangeably in different languages so understanding their meanings is essential for proper communication.

Comparing and contrasting compound prepositions with regular single-worded prepositions can provide valuable insight into the ever-evolving context of the English language.

Compound Prepositions Exercises with Answers


  • I want the task completed __ the directions I sent out.
  • Let’s check __ this text. What else do we need?
  • __ budget cuts, our library hours have been reduced.
  • He washed __ his elbows.
  • The cat slept ___ the sofa.


  • I want the task completed according to the directions I sent out.
  • Let’s check aside from this text. What else do we need?
  • Due to budget cuts, our library hours have been reduced.
  • He washed up to his elbows.
  • The cat slept on top of the sofa.

Compound Prepositions List

In spite ofIn spite of the storm, she went outside.
BeforehandHe was told beforehand about the meeting.
On account ofWe stayed late on account of extra work.
With reference toWith reference to the new rules, he decided to quit.
Because ofBecause of his mistake, he was fired.
Compound Prepositions List Table
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Advice for ESL Students & English Language Learners

ESL students and English language learners should always remember to use compound prepositions correctly. Compound prepositions are two-word phrases that link different objects of a sentence together, like “throughout” or “in spite of”. Such prepositions provide more specific descriptions than single-word prepositions like “of” or “for” and can make a statement significantly more accurately.

Compound prepositions should be used in combination with other important punctuation such as commas and semicolons to signify pauses within a sentence or emphasize contrasts between ideas respectively. Take advantage of the additional detail compound verbs to provide in order to add nuance to your language and demonstrate fluency.

Additionally, it is important for learners to properly understand forms of prepositions and prepositions definition and examples.

Common Mistakes Made by English Learners

English learners often make the same mistakes when attempting to learn the language. Compound prepositions are one of the most common issues for beginners: using singular instead of plural forms, incorrect verb usage, and forgetting which article should be used with certain words.

While it may seem daunting to master all the nuances of compound prepositions, they can become second nature with practice. Understanding how to correctly combine prepositions can help ensure efficient communication in English and avoid potential misunderstandings. With careful attention to detail and review, even the most challenging aspects of English grammar can become manageable tasks.

Common Mistakes:

1. Incorrect Tense

Why it Happens

Not having a firm grasp on correct preposition usage can confuse your statements. This can cause you to use the wrong prepositions and misconstrue your message.

Correct Use

When speaking English, you would use a preposition that reflects the subject in question. Keep context in mind when selecting your prepositions.

2. Lack of prepositions

Why it Happens

The easiest mistake is leaving out determiners when needed. Failing to use these in phrases can lead others to misinterpret what you are trying to express.

Correct Use

Prepositions join words to a person, place, or thing – for example, ‘the cat meowed’ or ‘I love pasta’.

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3. Inconsistency

Why it Happens

People forget how they described something before and change the context in a contradictory manner. This confuses the reader.

Correct Use

Be sure that your prepositions remain consistent throughout your writing. There should be no sudden shifts from ‘they’ to ‘this’ unless there was a clear shift in the thing being described.

4. Incorrect Usage

Why it Happens

You don’t know which prepositions to use, so you use too many and it confuses the statement.

Correct Use

Using too many prepositions can make your writing sound monotonous and can also lead to viewers losing interest. Therefore it is important to focus on expressing yourself clearly and effectively with them.

Tips to Avoid Common Mistakes:

Compound prepositions are some of the most common mistakes in writing, and avoiding them requires both practice and attention to detail.

  • By understanding the grammar basics around compound prepositions and reinforcing these through consistent practice, you can create well-constructed written pieces free of compound preposition errors.
  • Additionally, paying close attention to your use of plural pronouns is key, as this can often spur violations of the rule.

Ultimately, with plenty of diligence and hard work, anyone can sharpen their grammar skillset enough to impart their ideas effectively in writing without throwing a wrench into the whole piece for a simple vocabulary misstep.

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Learning Compound Prepositions Strategies and Best Practices

Compound prepositions are useful grammar tools, but they can be difficult to learn. Knowing the right strategies and best practices is key to mastering this important aspect of English knowledge. Learning compound prepositions requires some basic principles.

First, understanding the context in which a preposition can be used as part of a phrase or sentence is critical. Compound prepositions must always make sense within a given scenario in order to form meaningful, accurate sentences. Memorizing combinations is also helpful; breaking down difficult phraseology into smaller chunks makes it easier to recall on the spot.

Most importantly, practice is essential for mastery; taking time daily to review and test newly-acquired skills will ensure that compound prepositions become deeply embedded in your language repertoire. Keep reading for more useful tips:

Tip 1: Study a List

Why it helps

Learning the various forms and using them properly in speaking and writing is easier than it seems with daily practice. A list can simplify this process and make it seem less daunting.

Daily Life Example

The best way to learn to use determiners correctly is to study a list of prepositions and their usages, and then practice writing sentences with them.

Tip 2: Practice Reading

Why it helps

Exposing yourself to prepositions hidden between other words can help you identify them faster and more accurately.

Daily Life Example

To ensure that you understand how frequently a type of preposition should be used it’s important to practice reading with them as well, so the meanings become clear. So keep a book of your choice on hand and highlight every preposition you come across.

Tip 3: Everyday Conversations

Why it helps

By applying the prepositions exercise to everyday conversations, you’ll find these words easy to remember and use in the near future.

Daily Life Example

Take your time when speaking to people. Take note of the prepositions they use, and try and repeat them back in different contexts. You can also do this from the comfort of your home by recording yourself or using an AI assistant.

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Compound Prepositions Frequently Asked Questions

Compound prepositions are phrases made up of two or more simple prepositions strung together. Compound prepositions allow for a greater level of precision when describing location, location within a time frame, or manner of movement.

Compound preposition examples include “for all of”, “in spite of”, “on behalf of”, and “in lieu of”. Compound prepositions can also be used to poetic effect; creating an emotional atmosphere in which the precise meaning gets lost but the effect remains.

It is important to note that some compound preposition phrases may differ by region or language, such as “preposition à” (use of the article ‘à’ with a noun) versus other variants. Compound prepositions often act as conjunctions linking parts of a sentence, making them incredibly useful and powerful word groups.

Compound sentences are a great way to express complex ideas with multiple parts. Compound prepositions are especially helpful for expressing cause-and-effect relationships, providing descriptions, and making comparisons. For example, “She bought the dress because it was on sale,” is a compound sentence that conjoins two simple sentences using the conjunction “because.”

Other common conjunctions are “and,” “but,” “or,” and “so.” Other kinds of prepositions can also be made up of two independent clauses linked by a semi-colon; for example, “I love playing checkers; it’s my favourite board game.” Compound sentences are often used to add emphasis to one of the sentence’s components.

For instance, in “Cats rule the roost; dogs just bark about it”, the speaker wants us to take away that cats are superior to dogs. Compound sentences can express much more than simple ones, making them an essential part of grammar.

Compound words are created by combining two or more individual words to form a new word. Compound preposition functions are often used to communicate complex ideas in a simpler way.

Compound Prepositions, for example, consist of basic prepositions that are connected together with or without hyphens, such as inside-out, over-the-top, up-to-date and out-of-the-box.

Compound words can also be nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs; formed from combinations of shorter words like backyard, notebook, knowhow, motherland and lifelong. These compound words can help us write more specific descriptions and explanations in fewer words; making them popular not just among authors but also in poetry and music.

It’s important to understand the correct option when dealing with English prepositions. Therefore it is important to understand the variety of compound words when engaging with language.

Compound prepositions are phrases made up of two or more words, like “instead of” and “due to.” Prepositional phrases act similarly to regular prepositions in that they indicate relationships between two components in a sentence. Compounds particularly come in handy when relaying complex ideas concisely.

The three most common compound preposition phrases are “apart from,” “aside from,” and “in addition to.” These three essential ones are used quite frequently, especially when speaking a highly technical language or making detailed descriptions. Compound prepositions can assist us greatly in our everyday conversations by adding clarity and finality to our thoughts.

Prepositional phrases are two or more words that act as a single preposition. Compound prepositions, such as ‘in spite of’, ‘instead of’, and ‘on behalf of’, help to express complex meanings or relationships.

Double prepositions can come in different forms, from two-word phrases like “according to” to three-word phrases like “with regard to”. Phrase prepositions also exist as nouns; for example, the compound preposition “without” is also used as the noun “without holding”.

Compound prepositions are an important part of effective written and spoken communication and must be used thoughtfully in order to effectively convey ideas or information.

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