So I feel like "prop open the door" is correct over "prop the door open" because the former splits the verbs, but the latter sounds better to me, for reasons I don't know. Is either correct over the other?

  • 2
    Both positions for 'open' are acceptable here. Certainly, it is an adjective in 'Prop / hold / keep the door open'; I'm not going into what part of speech it is in 'Prop / keep / hold open the door'. The former variants are more colloquial, the latter sound more poetic. I'm surprised that 'keep ajar the door' has a lot of hits on Google; these things tend to be idiosyncratic. Contrast "keep the bottle open" (232 000) : "keep open the bottle" (a dubious 3). Oct 17, 2014 at 22:46
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    Prop open is a pretty ordinary Phrasal Verb. Note that prop the door open, prop it open, and prop open the door are all fine, but prop open it is ungrammatical. That's the normal test for phrasal verbs. In addition, this puzzle may be interesting or helpful. P.S. They all mean the same thing, if they're grammatical; the rule is called Particle Shift. Oct 18, 2014 at 0:07
  • I think the word "open" is not needed at all. "Prop the door" and "Do not prop the door" convey the message. Who props a door closed?
    – Carrie
    Feb 15, 2017 at 14:04
  • Is prop short for something or is it an actual word?
    – Millemila
    Jun 25, 2020 at 3:10

1 Answer 1


Prop the door open

sounds correct, and open here is an adverb, not a verb. I would say it is the same structure as

Hold the door open


Keep the door open

We (well, at least I) don't say Hold open the door or Keep open the door.

  • 1
    In 'Prop the door open', 'open' is modifying the noun 'door': it is an object-orientated predicative adjective. Oct 17, 2014 at 22:48
  • good to know, after thinking a little it sounds more logical, thanks for correcting
    – Arsen Y.M.
    Oct 17, 2014 at 23:49

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