The hills here are covered with wildflowers in early spring.

At first, I thought it was an adverbial phrase but it's not.
Preposition in implies that "early spring" is a noun but how?

Let's look at sentence

I'll go there next spring.

It doesn't need a preposition because "next spring" is an adverbial phrase. How is next spring different from early spring?

1 Answer 1


"Early spring" is the "early part of spring", the "beginning of spring", just as "late spring" would refer to the end of spring.

Spring as a season lasts three months, and not all spring flowers flower at the same moment. So a flower that flowers early in spring is said the flower in early spring.

Next spring refers to a time period of three months, early spring to a period of 4-6 weeks.

  • Then early in mentioned sentence is an adjective, right?
    – Sandeep D
    Commented Apr 24, 2014 at 12:50
  • Yes, it is, it modifies the noun spring :)
    – oerkelens
    Commented Apr 24, 2014 at 12:59
  • 1
    For what it's worth, both "in early spring" and "next spring" are time adjuncts (also known as adverbs of time). Commented Apr 24, 2014 at 13:03
  • @DamkerngT. You mean "in early spring" is an adverb as a whole and in is not used as preposition?
    – Sandeep D
    Commented Apr 24, 2014 at 13:07
  • It ("in early spring" as a whole) functions as an adverb. (Some people call it an adverbial phrase.) In is, of course, a preposition. Commented Apr 24, 2014 at 13:08

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