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Serving as Other Parts of Speech

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Prepositions Serving Double Duty

Many words that serve as prepositions also serve as other parts of speech. The word up, for example, acts as a preposition:

He looked up the tree. (prepositional phrase)

But the word up can also serve as an adverb:

He looked up. (adverb modifying looked)

And the word up can join a verb to form what’s called a complement verb, or phrasal verb, a verb consisting of a verb and a merged preposition (drop out, dredge up):

He looked up the word. (part of complement verb look up)

Some words can act as a preposition and a subordinating conjunction:

He left after the movie. (preposition)

After the movie ended, he left. (subordinating conjunction)


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