While writing a news report, I found myself phrasing a sentence like this:

"Apart from by the managing director, the report would be reviewed by three specially constituted teams."

Though I immediately changed the sentence into active, I wondered if "Apart from by..." was grammatical.

I searched for the exact phrase in Google. It turned out about 222,000 results. But I could not find any 'reputable' source (at least not in the first few pages).


It's perfectly grammatical, but rather clumsy.

Apart from functions as a preposition. And, though prepositions normally take noun phrases as their complement, they can sometimes take a prepositional phrase.

Other examples of this construction are

There were papers all over the floor, as well as on the table.

The queue stretched from the theatre to beyond the bank.

Note, incidentally, that apart from by is not structurally a component of the sentence: the structure is [apart from [by the managing director]].

  • Thanks for your informed and lucid answer. The note and the examples were helpful. – user73747 Aug 19 '14 at 16:25
  • 1
    Let me step out from behind my tree and tell you the story of a little boy who asked his father, "Daddy, what did you bring that book that I don't want to be read to out of about Down Under up for?" – RegDwigнt Aug 19 '14 at 17:21
  • Reg, go ahead, tell us the story. – Colin Fine Aug 19 '14 at 17:23

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