I had a class today and discussed the usage of these two adjacent prepositions (Can two prepositions be used one after the other? "my guideline and reference in this case") with a student who believes it sounds OK to him when two prepositions are used in the following way and he doesn't see any errors in the syntax of the sentence.

The context of the sentence:

AWS doesn't leave us unequipped to secure ourselves. For example, every domain that the customer has control over, they have provided us with the necessary tools to achieve optimum security.

A brief list:

Network Security

Network firewalls - giving us the ability to create VPCs (Virtual Private Cloud) with private networks.Connectivity options which enable private, or dedicated, connections from our office or on-premises environment.DDoS mitigation technologies that can be applied to layer 3 or 4 and layer 7.Automatic encryption of all traffic coming through via AWS global and regional networks."

The text/sentence:

Automatic encryption of all traffic coming through via AWS global and regional networks.

I have two issues with it:

  1. adjacent prepositions
  2. redundancy

Source: https://hackernoon.com/devsecops-and-devops-a-deep-dive-j62k34r3


  • 12
    Probably a comma would help. “Automatic encryption of all traffic coming through, via AWS global and regional networks.” - to come through is a phrasal verb. dictionary.cambridge.org/it/dizionario/inglese/come-through
    – user 66974
    Commented Jan 22, 2021 at 10:02
  • 6
    Just 2 consecutive prepositions? How about 5? 'What did you bring that book I don't like to be read to out of up for?' (Why has that particular book been brought upstairs to be read as a bedtime story, OR brought up in the conversation?). Commented Jan 22, 2021 at 12:53
  • 2
    Okay, so poets did not write this stuff. Can anyone makes sense of the 'context' sentence: For [example,] every domain that the customer has control over, they have provided us ..." = They have provided tools for every domain? Commented Jan 22, 2021 at 13:10
  • Yeah, the second sentence (not the one being asked about, but the sentence starting with "For example") seems really bad to me. I believe it's wrong, but it also just sounds awkward. And the most obvious way to correct it ("For example, for every...") sounds even more awkward, and the referent of "they" is pretty distant and unclear. Commented Jan 22, 2021 at 23:31

3 Answers 3


Through and via are both prepositions, but they are not used together.

To come through is indeed a phrasal verb:

If something comes through, it arrives, especially after some procedure has been carried out.

  • A huge cheer of relief went up when the result came through. (Collins)

If you replace this phrasal verb with a synonym such as arrive, you get:

Automatic encryption of all traffic arriving via AWS global and regional networks.

Via is defined by Cambridge as

using a particular machine, system, or person to send or receive something; by way of, or by use of:

  • Reports are coming in via satellite.

In this example you can see another instance where the preposition of the phrasal verb is juxtaposed to the preposition via that is linked to the noun "satellite".

Though these two prepositions stand next to each other in the sentence, they are linked to different words. This is not the case of compound prepositions connected to the same word (Your dictionary) as in:

He picked up the penny from beneath the couch.

Edit: Prompted by a comment, I will add another source for a compound preposition, though I am not sure it is more "suitable":

He didn't go to university because of his grades. (Advanced English Grammar)

Neither is this a phrasal verb with two particles which is called a three-part phrasal verb, such as:

go through with = to do something you promised to do, even though you don’t really want to do it:

  • She went through with the wedding, even though she had doubts. (English at home)
  • 2
    I only stated that "through" is part of the phrasal verb, whereas "via" isn't.
    – fev
    Commented Jan 22, 2021 at 11:48
  • 2
    Yes, OK. More fully, the VP consists of three constituents: "coming + through" + "via AWS global and regional networks". That is the basic structure
    – BillJ
    Commented Jan 22, 2021 at 12:07
  • @Araucaria-Nothereanymore. Well, the predicate is "coming through via AWS global and regional networks" which consists of the predicator "coming" and its complement "through", making 2 constituents, followed by the 3rd constituent, the PP "via AWS global and regional networks". Thus 3 constituents"coming + through + via AWS global and regional networks".
    – BillJ
    Commented Jan 23, 2021 at 8:30
  • @Araucaria-Nothereanymore: Thank you for your input. I have edited my answer. What do you mean by "suitable suitable source". Do you have one in mind?
    – fev
    Commented Jan 23, 2021 at 9:20
  • 1
    @Stilez "Coming through" is only a VP in, for example, "The sound is coming through", where "coming through" consists of two separate constituents, i.e. "coming" + "through" as its complement. But in "The army base's munitions are coming through the gate" the VP is "are coming through the gate", consisting of "are + coming + through + the gate".
    – BillJ
    Commented Jan 24, 2021 at 13:06

There are legitimate objections to some aspects of the full passage quoted, but not to the particular pairing.

The first preposition is, in effect part of the verb 'come through'. It behaves as a kind of 'suffix' to the verb 'come' (classicists might describe it as 'enclytic' - literally 'leaning back'). The second, via, is a straightforward preposition, literally 'placement before' the noun that follows.

  • I wouldn't go along with what you say. It's not the whole expression "come through" that is a verb, but just the word "come". "Through" is a separate word, a preposition functioning as its complement.
    – BillJ
    Commented Jan 23, 2021 at 14:43
  • 1
    @BillJ Well, I need not press that point to observe that 'through' modifies the preceding verb while 'via' modifies the following noun. The word 'preposition' signals literally that it is placed before ('pre') a noun. Now a queue of prepositions in front of the same noun would indeed be a problem. But Merriam Webster has definitions of 'through' both as a preposition and (as used in your passage) an adverb. That will provide a less contentious explanation than mine. It is being used as an adverb.
    – Tuffy
    Commented Jan 23, 2021 at 15:05
  • In modern grammar "through" is a preposition, so "come through" is analysed as two constituents verb + preposition functioning as complement of "come". No one nowadays says that preps must come before some element, and in any case preposition stranding is commonplace. "Via" is of course a preposition that has the NP "AWS global and regional networks" as its complement. It's time you got a decent scholarly grammar textbook!
    – BillJ
    Commented Jan 23, 2021 at 15:19
  • 1
    @BillJ I think you will have to take this up with the authors of Merriam Webster, the Cambridge English and Collins English dictionaries, all three of which list as both a preposition and (in contexts like your quotation) an adverb.
    – Tuffy
    Commented Jan 23, 2021 at 15:26

English uses adjacent prepositions all the time. Where does this idea come from that it's wrong? 'Out of', 'away from', 'over behind', 'down under'... infinite combinations are possible and used all the time.

  • 1
    But 'He passed out from lack of oxygen' analyses differently from 'The mouse scurried out from the pile of boxes'. Multi-word verbs need to be considered here. Commented Jan 23, 2021 at 12:58
  • 'Multi-word verbs'? Now there's a novelty!
    – BillJ
    Commented Jan 23, 2021 at 14:31
  • 1
    The term 'compound verbs' being already taken for fused forms such as stirfry. Crystal codified the preferred analyses of say 'ship of the desert' when used for 'camel' as a single lexical item, 'lexeme'. 'Take off' = 'doff' is an example that seems to compare well with 'particle board' = 'particleboard'. Commented Jan 23, 2021 at 15:52
  • Compound verbs are not called multi-word verbs, the latter term being use wrongly in Mickey Mouse grammar books to describe the so-called phrasal verbs such as "fell out" in "They fell out".
    – BillJ
    Commented Jan 24, 2021 at 8:56
  • As in "they fell out of love" or "they ran out of food".
    – Barmar
    Commented Jan 25, 2021 at 17:14

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