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On prepositions

I've noticed quite a few people attempting to use prepositional phrases in a rather strange way. Specifically placing the preposition after its noun. For example:

Instead of cum Corinna they use Corinna cum

So I did a little digging so that I could help explain how prepositions work better.

First of all: the word preposition comes from the Latin word praepositio meaning, the action of placing in front, prefixing grammatically it refers to prefixes and prepositions. So purely off the name of the thing, it's generally considered to be placed before the noun.

In poetry, as in most things in Latin, the rules can be bent.

The most commonly well known exceptions are magna cum laude and summa cum laude which translate to with great praise and with highest praise.

An article written by James Clackson covers adpositions and their use. In his writing he covers some analysis of Plautus and Ennius and discovered the following frequencies of word orders.

In Ennius, Prep. Mod. Noun and Prep. Noun. Mod. were most common 32% and 29% respectively, Mod. Prep. Noun was also at 29%, Noun Prep. Mod. came in at 10%.

In Plautus the percentages were 56% 32% 11% and <1%.

Placing the preposition after its noun is known as anastrophe. It is most common in poetry, and is chiefly used with disyllabic (2 syllable) prepositions.

A common exception though is cum with personal pronouns, mecum, tecum, nobiscum and vobiscum.


October 5, 2019



Yup. We have to use nobiscum. If we said cum nobis it would sound improper, according to Cicero ;)


Whoever wants postpositions, try Finnish! ;)


Welp, try chinese lol

  • 2354

Thanks for the post! If I'm not wrong, the word order Mod. Prep. Noun is quite common with 'cum', even in prose (it is found a lot throughout Caesar 'de bello gallico'). I think that this word order is rarer with other prepositions.


I plan on having mod. prep. adj. Available as an answer where applicable. This was more to hopefully get people to stop saying Italia in

  • 2354

Thanks for the clarification :)


There is also ūnā cum + ablative which is together with. I would treat such constructs as adverbs.


This would fit in the category of Mod. Prep. Noun. like magna cum laude.


A preposition is a link word. It's logical to have it before the word it is supposed to link.

Me and my sister = "and" is linking "me" and "my sister", same thing for "with".

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