University of Houston-Victoria

University College

Phrasal Prepositions

A phrasal preposition is a simple preposition preceded by a word from another category, such as an adverb, adjective, or conjunction.

Examples:

According to, Aside from, Next to, Ahead of, Because of, Out of, Along with, But for, Prior to, Apart from, Contrary to, Thanks to, As for, Except for, Up to, As to, Instead of

Remembering the right preposition combination is sometimes difficult. If you refer to a dictionary, look up the word with which the preposition is used.

For example:

When trying to find the meaning of bored with, you would look up the word bored.

The following combinations can be troublesome. (see handout on phrasal verbs for a more complete list with examples)

Phrasal Prepositions
Wrong
Revised
apologize about apologize for
bored of bored with
capable to capable of
concerned to, on concerned about, with
in search for in search of
independent independent of
interested about interested in
outlook of life outlook on life
puzzled on puzzled at, by
similar with similar to

Note: Prepositions can be rather tricky. They especially can create a lot of trouble for those students for whom English is a foreign language. There are thousands of idiomatic expressions where prepositions cause some major difficulties and misunderstandings. It is a good idea to become familiar with some of those that are more commonly used. Of course, the best way to learn these is through practice and close attention to speech and the written word. Another good resource to always keep handy is a good dictionary.