Devine Thoughts and Rules for Prepositions for Fiction Writers – Andy Devine (from Unsaid Four)

1 – Prepositions are often little words, but they do much of the work in sentences. They create most of the turns in sentences and they hold most of the pressure in them.

2 – Sentences should end with prepositions. It is better to write She brushed her hair out than She brushed out her hair.

3 – These prepositions are good prepositions: About, across, after, against, along, among, and, as, at, before, beside, besides, behind, beneath, between, by, down, during, for, in, inside, into, of, off, on, onto, over, past, through, through, throughout, to, toward, towards, under, until, up, with, without.

4 – Limit the use of beyond, concerning, except, like, opposite and since.

5 – Never write considering, nevertheless, notwithstanding, till, unlike, or upon.

6 – Don’t use these prepositional phrases that are fixed expressions: According to, apart from, as for, as it were, as to, as well as, because of, by means of, instead of, owing to, rather than, regardless of.

7 – Always use toward and never use towards. Or, always use towards and never use toward.

8 – Prepositions are always the last part of language to change.

9 – Words with prepositions in them are good words: downstairs, downtown, inside, outside, upstairs, uptown. Write fiction about people going inside, outside, or upstairs.

10 – Unnecessary prepositions become necessary once you start using them. It is better to as “Where are you going to?” than “Where are you going?”

11 – Prepositions create the fundamental relations between words and us.

Andy Devine ( is the author of Words (

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3 Responses to Devine Thoughts and Rules for Prepositions for Fiction Writers – Andy Devine (from Unsaid Four)

  1. lara candland says:

    these rules hold in poems, too, especially #11.

  2. It’s no mistake that Devine lists “through” twice as a preposition that is a good preposition.

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