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"Overseas", as far as I am concerned, is an adjective or an adverb. If "from overseas" is a correct phrase, why is it grammatical? "From" is a preposition, and it should be followed by a noun, not an adjective, nor an adverb.

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    What about from around here? From happy to sad in under 30 seconds? From nearly nonexistent to fully mature? May 7, 2014 at 9:34
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    Who says prepositions cannot govern adjectives or adverbs?!? May 7, 2014 at 18:20
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    Preposition is by definition followed by nouns only.
    – Louis Liu
    May 8, 2014 at 1:38

2 Answers 2

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"Overseas", as far as I am concerned, is an adjective or an adverb.

Firstly, "overseas" can be used as a noun:

overseas(used with a singular verb) countries or territories across the sea or ocean.


If "from overseas" is a correct phrase, why is it grammatical? "From" is a preposition, and it should be followed by a noun, not an adjective, nor an adverb.

I am assuming you mean something akin to "It came from overseas." This form of "from" is sometimes used without an explicit noun:

It came from below.

In this case, the noun is actually something like "here" or "there":

It came from below [here].

If you really want to think about "overseas" as an adverb, then expanding it would look something like this:

It came from overseas [from here].

But that the extra "from here" is implied and can be dropped without changing the meaning.


For what it is worth, if you search for common usage of adverbs following "from" you'll find that most of them can be used as nouns:

  • where
  • here
  • now
  • there
  • abroad
  • below

"Overseas" is just another word in that list. This particular type of word is used to denote location and, as such, tends to get smushed in whenever we need to refer to a location.

It would be an interesting question to compare historical usage of these words in order to determine whether they slowly become accepted as nouns over time. But that would be more suitable as a separate question.

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  • yes, from is followed by those adverbs to form something like an idiom.
    – Louis Liu
    May 20, 2014 at 6:37
  • Therefore, that you said the words can be used as nouns is wrong.
    – Louis Liu
    Aug 10, 2019 at 17:07
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Structures as The cat came out from under the couch can be made plausible by inserting a noun as in The cat came out from her place/hiding place under the couch.

from overseas: from a country/somewhere overseas.

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    Do you mean it is a way of ellipsis?
    – Louis Liu
    May 8, 2014 at 1:53
  • Today I think it isn't felt as an ellipsis. But if a learner has problems with combinations of double prepositions as from underit will probably help understanding. I can understand from overseas without inserting sth, but it can help.
    – rogermue
    May 8, 2014 at 4:27
  • I would view "It came from overseas" as no different from "It came from a place which can be described as overseas". The additional words add nothing. "Came from" already indicates that you are describing a place. May 19, 2014 at 16:36

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