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
    Commented Aug 27, 2014 at 23:26
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    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. Commented Aug 27, 2014 at 23:26
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    @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. Commented Aug 28, 2014 at 2:53
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    @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
    Commented 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. Commented 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.

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