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Trouble with word order with prepositions

I'd say I'm pretty good with basic/intermediate Chinese word order (probably since I took Chinese for awhile lol), but I don't understand why I sometimes see prepositions following their nouns. For example in the poem 'Quiet Night Thought', I saw the prepositions 前 come after 床 in "床前明月光",yet I almost always see prepositions come before in simple sentences. I've looked everywhere yet haven't found an answer to this. The only thing I've seen is when 'place-words' must move to the end after certain verbs, but nothing on prepositions following their noun.

November 30, 2017



First of all 前 would normally be considered an Adverb not a preposition.

Second, the poem is written in Classical Chinese and the grammar and word meanings can be very different to modern Chinese. After all, the poem was written more than 1200 years ago! Read some Beowulf and see how much English has changed for a comparison.


And it's a poem, so word-order is very fluid and lots of 虚字 are dispensed with. '床之前' would probably be the more prosey way of writing it.


Yeah I realize that, I'm just pretty sure I had seen this a few times before and seeing this happen again was the last straw I guess :) Thanks for your help!

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