Prepostions or Adverbs: Double Value Words

Last updated: June 6, 2017 at 2:43 am
double photoI mentioned in some of my other articles on the parts of speech that we should never brand a word with a part of speech name until we see how it is used in a context. A word is given a part of speech name according to its use in a sentence.

Here’s a good example of such a scenario.

Double Value Words: Preposition + Adverb

Some words may be used as preposition. And at other times, these same words may be used as adverbs.

Here are some examples:

by, past, off, near, under, on, over, along, after, beyond, through

When used as prepositions, they take an object and form a prepositional phrase. Example. I walked under the bridge.

When used as adverbs, they stand alone and modify a verb in a sentence. Example: The wind blew the newspaper over.

In the preceding sentence, the word “over” modifies the verb “blows” because it tells “how” the wind blew the newspaper.
The following sentences, taken from “Working With English” by Rennie and Anderson, gives good examples of words that can be used as either prepositions or adverbs.

As Adverbs:

Adventure with Horses

1. Two young horsemen wave a greeting as they pass by.

2. In a moment, they flash past.

3. One horse swerves off as it sees a moving object near.

4. A sudden gust of wind blows a newspaper under.

5. The leading rider goes on.

6. The troubled horseman falls off and rolls under.

7. The riderless horse gallops along.

8. The limping victim runs after and catches it.

9. Once more, the boys continue their ride and disappear beyond.

10. As they pass through, the traffic will prove troublesome.
All of the italicized words above stand alone as modifiers of verbs. Therefore, they are used as adverbs. In the sentences below, however, they take an object and form a prepositional phrase.

1. Two young horsemen wave a greeting as they pass by the market.

2. In a moment, they flash past the school.

3. One horse swerves off the road as it sees a moving object near the trench.

4. A sudden gust of wind blows a newspaper under the table.

5. The leading rider goes on the highway.

6. The troubled horseman falls off the horse and rolls under a stationary truck.

7. The riderless horse gallops along the highway.

8. The limping victim runs after the horse and catches it.

9. Once more, the boys continue their ride and disappear beyond the bushes.

10. As they pass through the city, the traffic will prove troublesome.

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