Is “About” A Preposition?

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is “about” a preposition

The English language is full of nuances and complexities, and even the most experienced writers and speakers can sometimes struggle to understand the finer points of grammar and syntax. 

One question that often arises is whether the word “about” is considered a preposition. In this blog post, we will explore the various ways in which “about” is used in the English language, and attempt to answer the question of whether or not it can be classified as a preposition.

Toward the end of the article, I will list all the synonyms and other related words, but first, let’s define what a preposition is.

What is a Preposition?

A preposition is a word that is used to show relationships that nouns, pronouns, and noun phrases have with other words within a sentence. They are usually used to show these relationships in terms of place, time, direction, location, spatial relationships, or to introduce an object.

There are a total of 150 prepositions, including aboard, above, across, after, against, along, amid, around, at, before, behind, below, beneath, between, beyond, and by.

Is About a Preposition

Yes, “about” is a preposition. It is used in many ways, including to indicate nearness or proximity, movement or direction, or the subject of a particular thing in a statement. Here are a few examples of how “about” can be used as a preposition:

  • I watched a movie about astronomy.
  • The restless manager paced about the room.

“About” as a preposition

As a preposition, “about” is commonly used to introduce “the subject” or “a connection”

  • The book is about ancient Egypt. (shows the subject of the movie)
  • Do you know anything about cricket?
  • We all know that he is perturbed about his club. It’s a sinking ship and he’s trying everything to save it.

When using “about” as a preposition, one can easily be tempted to use it instead of “on.” However, these words have different meanings.

For example, if you say, “They wrote a story about the World Cup,”  you are saying the story generally covers the World Cup. 

On the other hand, if you say, “They wrote a story on the United States men’s national soccer team during the World Cup,” you are talking about a story that specifically narrated the experiences of the United States men’s national soccer team at the World Cup.

about as a preposition, adverb and adjective
Preposition, Adverb and Adjective

“About” as an adverb 

An adverb is any word that modifies a verb, adjective, or another adverb to indicate time, manner, place, degree, or other circumstances or states in which an action occurs.

As an adverb, ‘about” can mean a lot of things. For example, it can be used to mean “here and there,” “around,” and “nearly.”


  1. The wave was about as high as that building.
  2. I think we should stop and look about
  3. He can not be trusted; he’s been wandering about from party to party. 
  4. The three little odd men faced about and started running towards the frightened lady.
  5. He roughly estimated that there were about a million people living in the city.

“About” as an adjective

Synonyms of “About”

On all sides at handOn 
Aroundwithin reachTouching on
In circuit on the doorstepDealing with
Circularly (just) around the cornerRelevant to
by a circuitous way approximatelyWith relevance to
Around the outsideroughlyConnected with
Here and therein the area ofIn connection with
In one place and anotherof the order ofOn the subject of
Nearbysomething likeIn the matter of
Nearly or soApropos 
With close correspondenceor thereaboutsThroughout 
Approximatelymore or lessOver 
With close correspondencegive or take a fewThrough 
To and frogetting on forAll over
Back and forthcircaIn all parts of
From place to placein the ballpark ofOn every side of
Hither and thitheron the subject of Encircling 
In every directionConcerning Current 
In all directionsRegarding Going on 
AbroadConcerning Prevailing 
about the placewith reference to Prevalent 
hereaboutsReferring to Widespread 
not far off/awayWith regard to Pervasive 
close byWith respect toEndemic 
in the vicinityRespecting happening
in the neighborhoodRelating toin the air


“About” is a versatile word that can be used in a variety of ways in the English language. It can serve as a preposition in certain contexts, but it is not always used in this way. 

The most important thing is to understand the context in which the word is being used and to use it correctly in accordance with that context.

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Jessica started off as an avid book reader. After reading one too many romance novels (really... is it ever really enough?), she decided to jump to the other side and started writing her own stories. She now shares what she has learned (the good and the not so good) here at When You Write, hoping she can inspire more up and coming wordsmiths to take the leap and share their own stories with the world.