I have come across the issue of wanting to use both two prepositions to describe a subject. This is not a common issue, judging by the lack of information regarding it.

This is an example of the type of sentence I am proposing:

A statue stood at and as the heart of every nation.

This sentence describes the location of the statues—at the heart, or center, of the nations—as well as their symbolism and importance. It may not be grammatically correct, but it eliminates the need to form a complex sentence, though the sentence certainly is complex in another way.

To restate the question, does the chain of "preposition -> conjunction -> preposition", as used in the above sentence, violate any rules of grammar or formal writing? As a side note, please tell me your opinion about how the example sentence sounds. It sounds fine and rather impressive to me, but I would like an unbiased opinion.

  • I don't understand why you think of "as" as an adverb. Do you have any reference to support your opinion? – user140086 Jun 16 '16 at 10:36
  • Oh. I admit I am still unfamiliar with all the different categories of word. "As" can be used as a preposition, adverb, and conjunction. I've fixed that, I was thinking of the wrong form. – Symantra Jun 16 '16 at 21:29
  • Prepositions certainly get conjoined in phrases like "over and above" or "above and beyond." – Andreas Blass Jun 16 '16 at 23:26
  • I did not realize that, Andreas. Thanks for bringing that to my attention! – Symantra Jun 17 '16 at 1:13

Both 'at' and 'as' are prepositions, and both are used adverbially.

The coordination is ambiguous. Is it 'at the heart of every nation' and 'as the heart of every nation', or merely 'at every nation' and 'as the heart of every nation'?

You might disambiguate as follows: There is a statue "at and as" the heart of every nation.

  • I see how my sentence can be interpreted differently. The former was my intention. Thank you for clearing that up, I did not notice it! – Symantra Jun 16 '16 at 21:33
  • The second interpretation strikes me a so improbable that I wouldn't worry about the ambiguity. The addition of quotation marks looks strange to me. – Andreas Blass Jun 16 '16 at 23:29

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