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4. Metaphorical and Idiomatic Prepositions

Metaphorical prepositions carry meaning which is different their literal meaning. Above above and beyond: in addition to above oneself: presumptuous or conceited: anyone suspected of getting above himself would soon be cut down to size. above board: honest, transparent and legitimate: The deal was completely open and above board. considered of higher status or worth than: He married above himself which didn’t go down well in the girl’s society. greater than in quantity or degree: above average in weight. in preference to: chose quality above quantity; the firm cynically chose profit above car safety. in preference to: I love you above all others. louder or higher than (other noise): I heard her call above the radio. not subject or liable to: to be above rules of too fine a character for: above such trickery. over and above all other factors or considerations (most importantly): Above all, tell the truth. Above all, I'd like to thank my family. superior to in rank, position, or number; greater than: put principles above expediency. superior to or prior to: to place honour above wealth. too difficult to be understood by: the talk was above me. too honorable or proud to undertake: Though honest himself, he is not above bribing to get work done. He's not above lying (= he sometimes lies) to protect himself. too honourable or high-minded for: above petty gossiping too respected for; beyond: above suspicion; above reproach. AFTER trying to get: after some food, after a good time, after more money

honouring through imitation: named after the founder.

take after: resemble: she has taken after her mother.


(approximately + quantity): around 100 people; around 6 PM


at bay, at best, at ease, at first hand, at first sight, at large, at least, at length, at odds, at odds with, at random, at risk, at risk of ,at the outset, at the same time, at the expense of, at the time of, at the top of, at times


invisibly causing: people behind a crime, motives behind a behaviour, a theory behind a policy

failing to match: behind schedule, behind the times, behind the leading team

supporting (+ person, idea or action):behind a speaker, behind a proposal, behind a new start


less than: below par, below expectation, below normal


hidden by: beneath a facial expression, beneath kind words

considered unworthy by (+ person): beneath the CEO to travel by economy class travel


outside or disallowing: beyond doubt, beyond redemption, beyond reproach, beyond repair, beyond comparison, beyond hope, beyond recall, beyond recognition,

better than: beyond expectation, beyond one’s wildest dreams, beyond expectation


by all account, by all/no means, by analogy, by a wide/narrow margin, by birth, by candlelight, by chance, by common consent, by comparison, by contrast, by custom, by default, by definition, by design, by every means, by far, by force, by implication, by law, by mistake, by name, by (their) nature, by night, by now, by profession, by way of …, by word of mouth


for ages, for all …’s worth, for a moment, for a start, for a while, for certain, for convenience, for emphasis, for good, for good measure, for good reason, for life, for now, for once in a while, for sure, for the moment, for the most part, for the record, for the sake of, for the time being, for what it is worth


from a … perspective, from day one, from day to day, from every angle, from memory, from side to side, from the horse’s mouth, from the start, from time to time, from top to bottom


in addition, in advance, in all likelihood, in all probability, in all sincerity, in a mess, in anger, in answer, in a rage, in accordance with, in a sense, in a similar vein, in brief, in charge, in case of, in charge of, in circulation, in command, in common parlance, in conclusion, in contrast, in control, in danger, in days gone by, in depth, in difficulty, in disgrace, in dispute, in doubt, in droves, in due course, in effect, in essence, in excess of, in fairness, in favour, in favour of, in fits and starts, in full flow/ throttle, in general, in hand, in large numbers, in line, in line with, in no time, in order, in other words, in particular, in practice, in principle, in progress, in public, in question, in reality, in relation to, in reply, in response, in sequence, in tandem, in that case, in the dark, in the extreme, in the final analysis, in the meantime, in the process, in the red, in the end, in the eyes of …, in (the) first place, in the fullness of time, in the nick of time, in theory, in this case, in this instance, in this respect, in time, in total, in transit, in turn, in unison, violins in tune with cellos, in light of events, in the wake of


of a kind, of all things, of concern, of consequence, of course, of good reputation, of importance, of interest, of late, of necessity, of … own accord, of significance, of substance, of the same kind/name, of use, of value


Off limits: out of bounds; (of an activity) not allowed; (of substance) not allowed to be consumed: some areas of the temple are off limits to the public; drinking is off limits for children below the age of 18; sugar is off limits for me;

temporarily breaking the routine of : off duty, off food, off travelling, off the beaten track, off the record

below the normal level: off one’s best, off colour

away from place, position, time, target: we are not too far off the city; still a long way off finishing the project; keep off the grass


on the contrary, on the go

dealing with: on a case, on a problem, on business. on a mission

conveying information through (+ medium): on TV, on the phone, on a map, on film, on a screen, on the phone,

on board, on a large/small scale, on average, on closer analysis/ examination, on condition that …, on (his/her/its etc.) guard, on high alert, on impulse, on purpose, on … terms, on reflection, on the assumption that…, on the brink, on the cards, , on the evidence of … , on the face of it, , on the lookout for…, on the other hand, on the surface, on the understanding that …, on the whole


successfully managing (+ demanding task or problem): on top of one’s job, on top of life’s trials); on top of the world,

in addition to: humiliation on top of defeat


no longer occupying (+ correct place): out of position, out of alignment, out of bounds, out of sorts, out of touch

caused by: out of gratitude, out of ignorance

out of alignment, out of bounds, out of touch, out of compassion/ gratitude/ love, out of nowhere, out of all proportion, out of bounds, out of circulation, out of contract, out of control, out of date, out of fashion, out of favour, out of order, out of phase, out of step, out of the norm, out of the ordinary, out of the question


more than (+ amount): over six hours, over 1000 people, over the limit

caused by or concerning (+ source of argument): arguing over money, disputes over procedures

recovered from (+ major event): over the worst, over their illness, over a holiday

throughout (+ time period): over a lifetime, over the course of many years

over six hours, over 1000 people, over the limit, arguing over money, disputes over procedure, over the worst, over a lifetime, over the course of many years

THROUGH: using or with the help of (+ person/s): through a friend, through local representatives

through a friend, through local representatives, to go through (read)


to all intents and purposes, to a great/small extent, to great ( or the same) effect, to my mind, to no avail, to perfection, to (someone’s) surprise, to the contrary, to the naked eye, to the uninitiated, to this day, to this end


hierarchically supervised by: under the command of…, under a manager

happening during the rule of: under the Republicans, under the … Dynasty

receiving/suffering: under pressure, under attack, under an illusion, under consideration, under the influence of …

according to (+ written rules): under an agreement, under the regulations

under the command of…, under pressure, under attack, under an illusion, under consideration, under the influence of …, under an agreement, under the regulations, under construction, under contract, under control, under inspection, under licence, under no illusions, under oath, under observation, under pressure, under review, under supervision, under surveillance, under the auspices of…, under the circumstances, under the impression that…, under the influence of…, under the ownership of


up country, up in arms, up to date, up to the hilt, up to marks


(starting a sentence): because of (+ noun + describing word/s): With the problem solved,… , With everyone in agreement

with regard to, with regret, with (due) respect, with respect to, with satisfaction, with the aid (or assistance or help) of, with the aim (or intention or purpose) of; with the exception of


within one’s capacity, within limits, within living memory, within minutes, within range, within (easy) reach, within sight, within the rules, within touching distance, within view


without doubt, without exception, without fail, without hesitation

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