previous next


PREPOSITIONS. Prepositions transposed

Prepositions: transposed. (See also Upon.) In A.-S. and E. E. prepositions are often placed after their objects. In some cases the preposition may be considered as a separable part of a compound transitive verb. Thus in “Ne how the Grekes with a huge route
Three times riden all the fire aboute,CHAUC. C. T. 2954. "ride about" may be considered a transitive verb, having as its object "fire." Naturally, emphatic forms of prepositions were best suited for this emphatic place at the end of the sentence; and therefore, though "to," "tyll," "fro," "with," "by," "fore," were thus transposed, yet the longer forms, "untylle," "before," "behind," "upon," "again," were preferred. Hence in the Elizabethan period, when the transposition of the weaker prepositions was not allowed, except in the compound words "whereto," "herewith," &c. (compare "se-cum, quo-cum") the longer forms are still, though rarely, transposed.

For this reason, "with," when transposed, is emphasized into "withal." The prepositions "after," "before," and "upon," are thus transposed by Shakespeare:

“God before.

; iii. 6. 55, for "'fore God."

“Hasten your generals after.

So “I need not sing this them until (unto).” HEYWOOD.

“For fear lest day should look their shames upon.

“That bare-foot plod I the cold ground upon.

“For my good will is to't,
And yours it is against.

The use of prepositions after the relative, which is now somewhat avoided, but is very common in E. E., is also common in Shakespeare, and is evidently better adapted to the metre than the modern idiom, as far as regards the longer forms. "Upon which" is not so easily metricized as

“Ten thousand men that fishes gnawed upon.

“The pleasure that some fathers feed upon.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: