I learned that noun can only come after preposition. But I saw that adjective, present participle come after preposition like below.

  1. It's far from impossible, but even so, it's not something you see every day.
  2. Far from conspiring together, there is reason to think they'd never even heard of each other.

How is it possible? There is another grammar I don't know?

  • 2
    Do you mean to say "only a noun can come after a preposition"? If so, that would be far from accurate. "Far from" is synonymous with "hardly".
    – TimR
    Commented Aug 28, 2016 at 10:16
  • Yes, I learned that only a noun can come after a preposition.
    – 박용현
    Commented Aug 28, 2016 at 10:18
  • Prepositions take a range of complements: noun phrases as in "I was talking to my boss"; preposition phrases as "I stayed until after lunch"; adverb phrases as in "It won't last for long"; subordinate clauses as in "I left because I was tired".
    – BillJ
    Commented Aug 28, 2016 at 13:46

2 Answers 2


Do you mean, "I was told that the only thing that can come after a preposition is a noun?" No, that's completely wrong. Either you misunderstood or the person who told you this was confused.

A preposition CAN BE followed by a noun. "I gave the book TO SALLY."

But a preposition is often followed by a noun PHRASE, that is, one or more words that describe an object. There are often adjectives. "I gave the book TO THE TALL MAN."

A preposition can be followed by a gerund, that is, a verb acting as a noun. "I left AFTER EATING."

A preposition can be followed by an independent clause, that is, a set of words that could stand alone as a sentence. "I was sad AFTER I FAILED HISTORY CLASS."


Objects of prepositions have to be nouns. However, in English, the spot where a noun is expected can be a number of things besides words that are usually nouns, such as verbals, phrases, and clauses.

I struck him with the sword of magic. (magic is a noun)

Unless a new phrase or clause starts right after the preposition, which can happen with phrasal verbs, the next word is usually the preposition's object, which has to be a noun.

I kicked my ex-girlfriend out but later felt guilty. (to kick out is a phrasal verb so but - a conjunction - starts and is part of a new clause)

I threw my ex-girlfriend's things out of the house. (the house is of's object, which is a preposition. Also using phrasal verb throw out here)

It is far from impossible.

I think this is a conversationally elided form of "It is far from impossible to do" or other verb. The to do or other verb is impiled.

In your other example, "Far from conspiring together ..." conspiring is a gerund.

Infinitives and gerunds can occupy the spot in a sentence where a noun goes. So can noun phrases, and it's possible in English for an entire clause to occupy the spot a noun goes in certain instance (noun clauses).

I worked toward walking.

I worked toward walking every day.

  • Is "throw out" here is really a phrasal verb? I'd parse "out of" as a compound preposition heading an adverbial phrase indicating where the ex-girlfriend's things were thrown. (Cf. "I threw my ex-girlfriend's things into the yard.")
    – chepner
    Commented Sep 28, 2016 at 18:33

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .