At the end of a sentence, I want to insert the following (parentheses included):

(proxy my parents, of course).


I sent my brother to his room (proxy my parents, of course).

But this doesn't sound right. I know that the preposition "via" is used this way quite frequently:

I accessed the internet via my school laptop.

My gut tells me "(with my parents serving as proxy, of course)" is definitely idiomatically/grammatically correct, but it also gives me the feeling that that usage is tacky, and just doesn't sound like good writing.

So what can I do in this situation to both use "proxy" correctly and also form a well-written sentence that's nice on the ears? Can I use "proxy" as a preposition like I originally did?

  • 1
    Use of proxy that hasn't to do with tests, voting, or networks is quite strange except possibly when one is a go-between. Still, if I'm reading it, it's probably going to jar my reading flow. Certainly others will disagree, but I'll defer to them to do the voting.
    – SrJoven
    Aug 27, 2014 at 23:26
  • 4
    You can certainly do it if (a) you want to, and (b) you think other people will understand your meaning. Given the entire context of your question I can understand your intent - but if all I had to go on was your example sentence, I probably wouldn't. You'd do better to express yourself in "normal" English, such as I sent my brother to his room (acting as a proxy for my parents, or using my parents as proxy). Or even more normally, on behalf of my parents, since "proxy" is a bit of an obscure word to many. Aug 27, 2014 at 23:26
  • 1
    @Edwin: Looking at that page reminded me I've long been irritated by Orwell's Our civilization, pace Chesterton {blah blah}. I don't recall ever hearing it used in conversation in almost 50 years since I first asked my English teacher what it meant. He told me pace there meant after, since, and it was years until I met it in print again, got confused by the semantics, and checked a dictionary. Aug 28, 2014 at 2:53
  • 1
    @gragas Isn't on behalf of my parents the exact opposite of what you intend? Your question says that the parents are acting as your proxy.
    – Barmar
    Aug 28, 2014 at 18:58
  • 2
    @Barmar’s comment is exactly why I wouldn’t use proxy as a preposition: it's extremely vague and unclear. From your question, even with the context, I cannot figure out if you sent your brother to his room using your parents as the go-between, the ‘tool’ (i.e., they're the ones saying, “Go to your room!”, but you're the one who wanted him to go there really), or if you're acting as a proxy for your parents (who are perhaps away) by sending him to his room. Sep 10, 2014 at 8:17

3 Answers 3


Nope. I know what you mean, but you can't use 'proxy' that way.

I'd go with "on behalf of".

Or if you want to sound legalistic/pedantic then you could say "acting with authority delegated from".



Proxy is not a preposition - noun or verb only.

I would suggest using the term indirectly through:

I sent my brother to his room (indirectly through my parents, of course).


In my view "proxy" is a term used in legal matters. A bank may write: You can vote either in person or by proxy (at a shareholder meeting). If you give a proxy it is a written statement saying that another person will be acting on your behalf. "proxy" derives from procuracy, ultimately Latin pro for and cura care. It can't be used as a preposition. And I think in normal everyday language there is no use for such a special bank term.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.