out 1 /aʊt/ ●●● S1 W1 adverb 1 FROM INSIDE from inside an object, container, building, or place OPP in

She opened her suitcase and took out a pair of shoes.

Lock the door on your way out.

Charlotte went to the window and looked out.

Out you go (=used to order someone to leave a room)!

out of

The keys must have fallen out of my pocket.

Get out of here!

Someone had torn several pages out of her diary.

I don’t think I’d have the courage to jump out of a plane.

All the roads out of the city were snowbound.

out came/jumped etc

The egg cracked open and out came a baby chick.

According to my research,

"I jumped out of the plane", "out" in this case is an adverb, and adverb can stand alone so we can say "I jumped out" and "of the plane" is implied.

But some people say "out of" in the above sentence are double prepositions (source). I don't get it.

"from" is always a preposition, not an adverb because it can never stand alone. So, in the sentence "The noise came from under the sink", we see 2 prepositions "from" & "under". If we omit "from", the sentence "The noise came under the sink" sounds strange.

The third example, instead of saying "The slippers are for being worn in the house, not outside", if we say "The slippers are for the house" then it is a bit strange, some suggest "The slippers are for in the house", which I think it is just a kind of sentence contraction not 2 prepositions before a noun. Am I right?

Could anyone explain this for me, this is so confusing?

Are they adverbs or prepositions?

  • "I jumped out of the plane" why do you say 'out' is an adverb here?
    – Void
    Commented Apr 10, 2020 at 5:20
  • @DecapitatedSoul, the dictionary says, I don't
    – Tom
    Commented Apr 10, 2020 at 6:05

2 Answers 2


Phrasal verbs are verbs that have an attached word (a "particle") that modifies the meaning of the verb, sometimes significantly. The "particle" behaves like an adverb. The word also has a possible meaning as a preposition but the prepositional meaning isn't what's being used when it's a "particle."

The most common particles include up, down, out, in, into, around, off, on.

Only certain verbs (there are many) work phrasally with particles, they simply have to be learned.

An example where the verb's meaning is significantly changes is shut - if modified by the particle up (e.g. shut up) the word now is an extremely impolite way of saying "be quiet", "don't speak".

I told her to shut up because she was bothering me.

Up here is not a preposition and doesn't indicate any spatial relation or movement.

So this explains how "prepositions" become adverbs. You can tell in the above sentence because the word that follows the preposition isn't a noun - prepositions have objects and objects are nouns. However, since verbs have objects as well, overlap is possible:

It took me a couple days to break in the shoes.

Here, shoes is an object of the phrasal verb break in which means "to form something new to a purpose or body part by using it for a while".

This sentence could technically mean you were broken while in a pair of shoes but most would assume that's not happening.


"Out of" is a preposition.
American Heritage Dictionary "out of"
prep. 1.a. From within to the outside of: got out of the car.

While "out" can be an adverb, "out of" is a "double preposition" (as you noted above):
Quora "double preposition"
While there may be another way to analyze it, if it appears as a headword in a dictionary as a compound word, that's a good way to look at it.

In the example with "from under the sink", one prepositional phrase is part of another.
See: Wikipedia "preposition and postposition"
Come out from under the bed
"...the complement of the preposition from is in fact another prepositional phrase. The resulting sequence of two prepositions (from under) may be regarded as a complex preposition..."

(Note that the Wikipedia article points out that this usage can be seen as a nested prepositional phrase or as a complex preposition.)

As to your last example, "the slippers are for in the house", I think that is the same kind of structure as "from under the sink".

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