Old English Wiki
Lesson 6: Adverbs Lesson 7: Prepositions Lesson 8: Conjunctions

Prepositions are words which usually show how a verb relates to a noun or pronoun. Words like in, out, about, between, etc, are prepositions.

In Old English, different prepositions made the noun/pronoun following them take a certain case (usually dative or accusative, but occasionally genitive or instrumental). Some can take on different cases to show (usually) different meanings; especially to be noted are a number of prepositions which take the dative when not showing movement from one place to another and accusative to show movement from one place to another (cf. in (shows no movement from one place to another) and into (shows movement from one place to another); such prepositions have been placed under the appropriate list. I have listed the prepositions bellow in Modern English to Old English form so that you can search for prepositions alphabetically.

Old English - Modern English[]

Prepositions taking the dative case[]

  • æfter - after, according to [can take the accusative]
  • ǣr - (of time) before, ere [can take the accusative]
  • æt - at, from, (of a way) by (as in, "I went by the path")
  • be - by, beside, surrounding, about, around, concerning [can take accusative]
  • beæftan - behind, after
  • beforan - before, in front of [can take accusative]
  • betƿeox - between, among [can take accusative]
  • būtan - excluding, outside (of) [can take accusative]
  • ēac - besides, including, in addition to
  • for - for, because of [can take accusative]
  • for(e) - in front of, before [can take accusative]
  • fram - from, away from, by (instrumental usage)
  • mid - with
  • of - of, off, from [can take genitive, too]
  • onġean - against, towards
  • tō - towards, to, at, (idiomatic usage) as; (with genitive) until, to such an extent, so
  • tōġeanes - against
  • ƿiþ - against, opposite, in exchange for [can take the accusative]

Prepositions taking the accusative[]

  • ġeond - through, throughout
  • oð - until
  • þurh - through, (instrumental usage) with [can take dative or genitive]
  • ymb(e) - surrounding, about, around, concerning, after

Prepositions which change meaning depending on accusative or dative[]

  • binnan - (dative) in, within; (accusative) into
  • bufan - (dative) above, over, upon; (accusative) (with the sense of moving from one place to another) over, upon, overhead
  • in - (dative) in; (accusative) into
  • innan - (dative) in, within; (accusative) into
  • ofer - (dative) above, over; (accusative) (with the sense of moving from one place to another) over, overhead
  • on - (dative) on, in; (with accusative) into, onto
  • under - (dative) under, beneath; (accusative) (with the sense of moving from one place to another) under, underneath