• he cracked his friend’s skull from behind.

“From” is a preposition And.... behind is an adverb . As I know, preposition must be followed by objects.

So, how is it possible that “from” in this sentence to be followed by an adverb.

Importantly, I looked for the word “behind”, And I found out that it cannot come as a noun.

  • My advice would be not to rely on such inflexible scaffolding.
    – TimR
    Nov 22, 2018 at 12:32

3 Answers 3


Your information is over-simplified.

Prepositions usually must be followed by a Noun Phrase, but there are exceptions.

You have identified one: from can take an adverb of place, direction, or time: "from behind", "from inside", "from before". As far as I can think, this exception only applies to "from", not to any other preposition.

Another example is for free: some people dislike this expression, and think it is "ungrammatical"; but it is in regular use by many speakers, and is therefore by definition grammatical for those speakers.

  • down behind, over above?
    – TimR
    Nov 22, 2018 at 14:46
  • What does “over-simplified” mean? Nov 22, 2018 at 15:22
  • @BavyanYaldo: it means "made simpler, to a degree where it is no longer accurate". The rule you learnt is simpler than the one I gave ("simplified") but it is not complete ("over") - though it is correct in most cases.
    – Colin Fine
    Nov 22, 2018 at 23:28

Behind can never be a noun? I disagree. I happen to be sitting on my big behind as I type this!

I felt compelled to add that. I don't believe I can add to this question or the answer already provided.

  • But here it gives the meaning of “buttock” not the meaning that it refers to in my example which means “back”. Nov 21, 2018 at 23:51
  • I understand. I rather flippantly pointed out the exception. Actually, I was surprised that "behind" is/was only an adverb. In your example, I would have thought "behind" was a noun as I took it as a place (I do remember the "person, place or thing" "rule", lol. But then that's why I've been intrigued by the site. I've long since forgotten many of the grammatical rules and parts of speech. I will often recognize a grammatical error in a sentence but here, I'm re-learning the rules behind proper and improper grammar.
    – Sue F.
    Nov 22, 2018 at 3:34

behind is where he was relative to his friend.

From that position where he could see the back of his friend's head, he dealt his friend a sharp blow on the skull.

Compare: from above, from below

  • I understood the meaning. But sometimes, I like to know the reasons. Actually, learning English for me is about creating reasons for the grammar. And i like to ask myself the question “why”, so I can base my English on more logical and reasonable grammar and, furthermore, avoid making mistakes. I know that attributing English sentences to reasons is kind of awkward as English has numerous exceptions that cannot be applicable to reasons or answers. Nov 22, 2018 at 15:30
  • Everyone is free to learn languages in the manner that suits them, of course. The preposition from takes any word or phrase that is understandable as an origin broadly construed, such as a source, a position (whether absolute or relative), a point-in-time, and so forth.
    – TimR
    Nov 22, 2018 at 16:05

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