Introduction: Introduction - Grammar - Orthography - I-mutation
Grammar: Nouns - Pronouns - Articles - Adjectives - Numbers - Verbs - Participles - Adverbs - Conjunctions - Prepositions - Interjections - Appositives - Word Formation -
Old English has many prepositions, and like German, they require certain cases of noun to come after them to complete their meaning. Old English has 4 cases other than nominative (subject) case which can be objects of prepositions. The genitive, dative, instrumental, and accusative cases can all be objects of prepositions.
- This preposition means 'with', as in:
- I went with him - ic ēode mid him.
- I traveled along with her - ic fōr mid hire.
- This means 'to,' as in:
- I spoke to him - ic spræc tō him.
- I go to the door - ic gā tō þǣre dura.
- This means 'through,' as in:
- I go through the gate - ic gā þurh þæt geat.
This preposition governs the accusative case.
Now, there are a great deal of prepositions in Old English, so going through them by case governed will be helpful.
Genitive prepositions that only take the genitive case are rare, and there is only one true such preposition, andlang.
- alongside, along, on length, by the side of
- I go alongside the street - ic gā andlang(es) þǣre strǣte.
- I go by the side of the way - ic gā andlang(es) þæs weges.
There are several prepositions which do take genitive objects in addition to other cases:
- betwēonan (dative/accusative too)
- innan (dative/accusative too) - within, from within
- þurh (mainly accusative)
- where there is motion towards the object governed by the word
- without the idea of hostility, towards, so as to meet
- with idea of hostility, against, to meet
- where there is motion of the object governed by the word
- without idea of opposition, in the way of, to meet the approach of, in readiness for, against the coming of
- with the idea of opposition, against, for the purpose of resisting
- marking the object towards or against which an action is directed
- of reciprocal action, again, in return
- marking time, on the approach of, towards
- marking comparison or contrast
There are several pure accusative prepositions, among the most common are geond, geondan, oþ, þurh, underneoðan, wiþgeondan, ymb, ymbūtan. Some of these prepositions can take other cases, but only rarely. There are also some less common prepositions, which will be listed below with the others.
- throughout, during
- to, up to, as far as
- through, during
- right through, throughout
- hē ēode þurhūt Ēoforwīc - he went throughout York
- underneath, below
- around, about, at
- around, about
- on, about, around, around about, on the outside
(variant of onbūtan)
- dative - in
- rest in, within - innan healle within a hall
- motion in, within - hé éode innan þǽm mynstre he went within the monastery
- time within the limits of a period, in; híe wendon innan þǽre middanwintres tíde they went within the limits of midwinter time
- accusative - into
- about All Saint's Day or later onbūtan Ealra Hālgena dæg and gīet lator
- with, in conjunction with, in company with, together with
- through, by means of