Ex- In the sentence "look here" here is the adverb of the verb. If I write "look at here" why is this wrong? Can't I consider "at here" as the adverbial phrase with at being the preposition and here being used in noun sense. How to know when an adverb can be used and when an adverbial phrase can be used?

1 Answer 1


"Look here" is a common phrase so people understand "here" in this context to be an adverb modifying "look." At is a preposition that requires an object. When you make the object of "look" be "here," people are expecting here to function as an adverb instead, so it sounds unnatural. "Here" is an adverb that does not require a preposition, so why would we add the preposition "at?" When referring to a concrete noun ("look at this") then use at. When referring to a general thing, do not use at ("look over here").

In some really weird contexts, it could actually be okay to say "look at over here," but I would not try this. "Look at here" is hard to every justify even in the weirdest of contexts.

  • In other cases such as - "look in there" in is the preposition and there is a noun. So why is it correct? In the sentence "look at here" "at here" could modify look by emphasizing that the listener must particularly look at the point. So I wanted to know that sometimes we use adverb (without preposition) and sometimes a preposition phrase as adverbial clause. So is there any specific rule in English that says when we can use an adverb and when an adverbial phrase? Or does it come naturally with practice and more reading?
    – Akshit Raj
    Sep 18, 2023 at 17:03
  • @AkshitRaj It's because "look at here" has a shortened form: "look here," whereas "look in there" has no such shortened form. If you omit the "in," there is no way to tell that you are trying to say to look "in" as opposed to "at" something. Since there is no way to shorten it, you can say "look in there," but since there is a way to shorten "look at here," the shortened "look here" should always be used instead. If an adverb alone can convey the full meaning with a verb, use the adverb without the preposition. If the adverb alone is insufficient, then use the adverbial phrase.
    – BigMistake
    Sep 18, 2023 at 17:26
  • 1
    this explanation is very helpful. Thanks!!!
    – Akshit Raj
    Sep 18, 2023 at 18:16

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