Sorry if this is a basic question, but I am in the weeds playing with language and finally encountered confusion when digging into prepositions in English. It appears to me that prepositions are adverbs when there is nothing after the "preposition"-like word, but otherwise it is a preposition?
- adverb: he jumped up
- preposition: he jumped up a flight of steps
- adverb: they were floundering about
- preposition: they were thinking about you
- adverb: he ran behind
- preposition: he ran behind the trees
From google definitions:
- Adverb: a word or phrase that modifies or qualifies an adjective, verb, or other adverb or a word group, expressing a relation of place, time, circumstance, manner, cause, degree, etc..
- Preposition: a word governing, and usually preceding, a noun or pronoun and expressing a relation to another word or element in the clause.
So I get an adverb modifies a verb (and I guess an adjective or other adverb, kind of confusing nomenclature). A preposition as you were saying precedes something (only a noun and pronoun)? But a preposition can also come after a verb, like the adverbs. So what exactly is the difference between adverbs and prepositions then? Do these categories partially overlap or something? How should I make sense of this?