complex prepositions

complex prepositions

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Firstly, complex prepositions are phrases, which means there are two or more words to them.  Prepositional complexity is found at different levels on the English Grammar Profile and English Vocabulary Profile.

Point 15 C1 in PREPOSITIONS is defined as:

less frequent complex prepositions, often in a more formal, literary or business context.

The two examples given are in the EGP as a guide:

ahead_II21 of_II22
on_II31 account_II32 of_II33

They both contain what ‘text inspector’ defines as B1 within them.

Next, it’s worth noting that this is the only C1 entry for prepositions and that there are no higher C2 entries for this category. In other words, this is the most complexity for prepositions listed on the English Grammar Profile.  Yet there are ‘multi’ part ones listed on the EVP at various levels, which makes grammar a hard way to choose which level each belongs to.

Point 10 B1 in PREPOSITIONS is defined as:

an increasing range of complex prepositions.

The examples listed include:

(instead|out|outside|due)_II21 (of|to)_II22
(up|thanks) to

Point 5 A2 in Prepositions is defined:

a limited range of complex prepositions.

And the example sentences when coded are:

(in)_II31 (front)_II32 (of)_II33
(and)_RR31 (so)_RR32 (on)_RR33
(such)_II21 (as)_II22
(each)_PPX221 (other)_PPX222
(near)_II21 (to)_II22

An iWeb search for _ii2 _ii2 gives us the following:

1 OUT OF 6044503 (there are many pages of levels associated with this in the EVP)

  Forbes
The True ‘Magic’ Of College Happens For Just 2 Out Of 100 Students
This means that a mere 2 out of 100 students ultimately experience the true magic of college. And that – more so than Covid-19, soaring tuition …

2 SUCH AS 5449751 

  Fabry Disease News
Creating a Treatment Plan for Fabry Disease
Be sure to include personal information, such as your name, address, and current information for an emergency contact in your treatment plan.

3 ACCORDING TO 2869261
4 DUE TO 2391407
5 BECAUSE OF 2052897
6 UP TO 1826998
7 ALONG WITH 1692520


8 INSTEAD OF 1611729

  Malay Mail
Next time you buy from a hawker, it could be with a card instead of cash.
23 Aug 2020

9 AWAY FROM 1320079
10 RATHER THAN 1299115
11 PRIOR TO 1110670
12 DEPENDING ON 1054573
13 OTHER THAN 734178
14 SUBJECT TO 680458
15 OUTSIDE OF 647355
16 AS TO 612286
17 NEXT TO 605685


18 AHEAD OF 517797 (EGP example C1 but EVP B1)

1 TO STAY AHEAD OF THE CURVE 1528

  The Straits Times
Samsung aims to stay ahead of the curve with Note20, Z Fold2.

2 TO STAY AHEAD OF THE COMPETITION 979
3 TO STAY AHEAD OF THE GAME 953
4 ONE STEP AHEAD OF THE COMPETITION 479
5 TO GET AHEAD OF THE GAME 430


19 AS OF 432508
20 AS FOR 430830
21 BUT FOR 421069
22 ON TO 330792
23 OFF OF 325384
24 APART FROM 290354
25 EXCEPT FOR 285505
26 THANKS TO 213464
27 ASIDE FROM 204325
28 RELATIVE TO 161384
29 PURSUANT TO 157081
30 CONTRARY TO 115613
31 UP UNTIL 102868
32 ADJACENT TO 87658
33 PERTAINING TO 71935
34 LET ALONE 70787
35 OWING TO 49551
36 IN BETWEEN 45311
37 NEAR TO 39562
38 IRRESPECTIVE OF 37121
39 SAVE FOR 27295
40 A LA 25571
41 ON BOARD 22224
42 AS REGARDS 20047
43 SUBSEQUENT TO 13599
44 AS FROM 12542
45 NEARER TO 8944
46 NEAREST TO 7024
47 AS AGAINST 6214
48 AS BETWEEN 5393
49 THAN PURSUANT 223
50 EXCEPTING FOR 164


Sadly ‘text inspestor’ does not do 3 token level…

_ii3 _ii3 _ii3

Finally, here are frequent three-part complex prepositions:

1 AS WELL AS 3749141
2 IN ADDITION TO 1012311
3 IN TERMS OF 828847
4 IN FRONT OF 732209
5 ON TOP OF 552937
6 IN ACCORDANCE WITH 289060
7 ON BEHALF OF 263886
8 IN RELATION TO 228883
9 AS OPPOSED TO 223942
10 WITH RESPECT TO 216982
11 IN RESPONSE TO 215278
12 IN CONJUNCTION WITH 183187
13 IN CONNECTION WITH 156662
14 IN TOUCH WITH 136900
15 IN NEED OF 133469
16 IN LINE WITH 130925
17 IN FAVOR OF 130257
18 IN CHARGE OF 129601
19 IN SUPPORT OF 122139
20 IN SPITE OF 111242
21 WITH REGARD TO 106633
22 IN CASE OF 106112
23 IN SEARCH OF 94130
24 IN CONTACT WITH 90433
25 IN LIGHT OF 86087
26 IN EXCESS OF 84002
27 IN PLACE OF 83464
28 BY WAY OF 81453
29 IN RESPECT OF 79895
30 BY MEANS OF 79247
31 IN FAVOUR OF 77885
32 IN LIEU OF 54881
33 IN REGARD TO 47577
34 IN KEEPING WITH 44435
35 ON ACCOUNT OF 44159 EGP example.
36 IN RETURN FOR 38047
37 IN COMMON WITH 29020
38 IN VIEW OF 28082
39 IN POSSESSION OF 27987
40 FOR FEAR OF 26794
41 IN ASSOCIATION WITH 26381
42 BY REASON OF 25034
43 IN PURSUIT OF 24671
44 IN CONSULTATION WITH 23484
45 IN COOPERATION WITH 18693
46 IN COMPARISON WITH 17514
47 WITH REFERENCE TO 16921
48 IN REPLY TO 16044
49 IN PROPORTION TO 14841
50 IN ANSWER TO 10220

4 part =

1 ON THE PART OF 74232
2 IN THE LIGHT OF 27959
3 WITH A VIEW TO 25534
4 OUT OF TOUCH WITH 7136
5 OUT OF LINE WITH 1981

*there’s no 5 part prepositions.

We have many posts to do with prepositions on this website, but you can also read more about them on other websites too.

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