In the following sentence, which preposition should I use before "awake"?

I spent all last night by (???) awake.

In order to mean: I was awake all the last night.

  • "I spent all the last night up awake" perhaps? But that isn't very proper usage either. More appropriate would be: "I didn't sleep at all last night". – Boyd P May 13 '16 at 20:11
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    Why do you think you need a preposition there? – user3169 May 13 '16 at 20:12
  • Alternatively, going along with what user3169 said, "I spent last night awake." (sans poetic license) – Boyd P May 13 '16 at 20:15
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    More simply: "I was awake all last night" or "I was up all last night". – Peter May 13 '16 at 20:17
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    "Last night", "last week", "last month", and "last year" all work about the same way. They operate syntactically like "today", "yesterday", or "tomorrow", i.e. no article. As indicated in my previous comment, there are different usages which may involve an article, e.g. when "last" means "final" instead of "previous". – Era May 13 '16 at 20:40

Awake is not a noun, so you wouldn't usually have a preposition there. Instead, you'd simply say:

I was awake all last night.

If you wanted to end with a prepositional phrase, you'd need to find one that ends with a suitable noun. The preposition you would choose would likely depend on the verb choice. Here are some examples:

  • Last night, I wrestled with sleeplessness.
  • Last night, I had a bout of insomnia.
  • Last night, I was kept awake by worry.

In my mind, though, those are rather specialized sentences, and would only be used if you wanted to supply additional information about why you were awake all night. If you just want to tell folks that you didn't sleep, just tell them; for example:

I didn't sleep a wink last night.

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  • You don't think that "I spent all last night awake" is acceptable? – Catija May 13 '16 at 20:28
  • @Catija - "I spent all last night awake" is indeed acceptable. No preposition needed. I didn't mean to imply it wasn't. I'm glad you cleared that up. (Note to the O.P.: You should not accept the first answer you get – at least, not so quickly. Better advice may be coming. Here's why.) – J.R. May 13 '16 at 21:14

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