Many words that are prepositions also belong to other parts of speech such as adjective, adverb, conjunction, noun, and verb. For example, the prepositions behind, like and underneath are also nouns, and the prepositions like, out and till also function as a verbMost prepositions are also adverbs. To differentiate a preposition from an adverb, we need to remember that a prepositon is followed by a noun or pronoun, making the noun or pronoun the object of the preposition. An adverb does not take an object. 

The words in the following table are used as prepositions and adverbs and in the example sentences that follow, they are shown how they are used. Many of them belong to other parts of speech as well, such as adjective and conjunction. They can also be verbs or nouns. 


Words that are either prepositions or adverbs

aboard below to
across beneath under
along between underneath
alongside beyond within
around by without
astride out  
behind throughout  




  • A hairy spider crawls across the dining table. (Preposition)
  • This river has no bridge, we have to swim across. (Adverb 


In the first sentence above, the noun table and its modifier dining come after the preposition across (across the dining table). The noun phrase dining table is the object of the preposition across. The second sentence has the verb swim and the word across that comes after the verb is easily recognized as an adverb as it doesn't take an object, and it also modifies the verb swim.





  • The family aboard the train panicked when the grandfather was nowhere to be seen. (Preposition)
  • The helicopter crashed, seriously injuring the pilot and wife aboard. (Adverb)


  • We watched small crabs scuttling in a sideway motion along the beach. (Preposition 
  • She brought her seven children along when she went to the market. (Adverb)


  • The railway runs alongside the highway. (Preposition 
  • We wondered what the driver wanted when his car came alongside. (Adverb)


  • We can’t find a public toilet around here. (Preposition)
  • If we’re not lost, why do you keep driving around in circles without getting anywhere? (Adverb)    


  • The foul-smelling town sits astride a heavily polluted river. (Preposition)
  • The performances of animals in the circus included a little starving-looking monkey sitting astride a big fat horse. (Adverb              


  • If you walk in the dark and hear footsteps following you, will you be too terrified to look behind you? (Preposition 
  • The woman walks along in the park with five puppies following behind. (Adverb)


  • He’s always wearing a pair of red shorts that reaches below his knees. (Preposition 
  • Two beads of sweat trickled down his cheek and drip to the floor below. (Adverb)


  • They saw a big strange-looking creature beneath the surface of the water. (Preposition 
  • Chased by dogs, he climbed a tree and looked at the dogs barking beneath. (Adverb)


  • Is that you between two coconut trees on the photo? (Preposition)
  • This is a photo of that famous footballer's legs with a football between. (Adverb)


  • In my sleep, I dreamed I was greeted by two small aliens who looked like puppet. (Preposition 
  • The police’s search for the escaped prisoner extended to the river and beyond. (Adverb)


  • The crocodiles were killed for their skin used for making shoes and other products. (Preposition 
  • From time to time, he would come by to borrow some money. (Adverb)


  • It took a full three minutes for all the bats to fly out of the cave. (Preposition)
  • In the fight, he knocked his younger brother’s tooth out. (Adverb)


  • Throughout her life, she had a phobia about flying. (Preposition)
  • The parents argued endlessly about money, but the children remained silent throughout. (Adverb)


  • He made some insults about my new haircut and later said he didn’t mean to. (Preposition)

  • Every one of us gathered round his bed waiting for him to come to (= to become conscious) (Adverb). 


  • The police found the burglar had hidden a lot of the loot under his bed. (Preposition 
  • We napped under that shady tree for about an hour. (Adverb 


  • Your dog is sleeping underneath my car. (Preposition 
  • His left eye was swollen with a bruise underneath. (Adverb)


  • He could not live within his means and had to make excessive use of his credit cards. (Preposition)
  • One week after the big argument with him, she was still angry within. (Adverb)


  • She bought a pet puppy without a tail. (Preposition)
  • We long for a holiday but there isn’t much money left, so we’ll have to manage without. (Adverb)




For a list of prepositions, see {ln:List 11 - Prepositions}