How would I represent 'for' in "Are you here for a conference?"

  1. conference could be represented as lam x.conference(x).
  2. a conference could be represented as lam Q x.(conference(x) & Q(x))

I assume that I know the meaning of for in this context. (Prepositions are polysemous)

  • "Are" is not a preposition: it is a verb. Most prepositions have their own semantics, and would need to be represented by their own operations in any logical form. Some are merely syntactic sugar (some uses of of, for example).
    – Colin Fine
    Dec 19, 2015 at 17:42
  • I'd use "P" for preposition. (But I doubt the question you ask is really meaningful.)
    – Greg Lee
    Dec 19, 2015 at 18:21
  • "For the conference" is a preposition phrase @ColinFine. I provided a complete sentence as an example.
    – mac389
    Dec 19, 2015 at 18:22
  • @GregLee I do not think you understood my question. Perhaps my edited version is clearer.
    – mac389
    Dec 19, 2015 at 18:30
  • Lambdas provide a way to express functional abstraction. What does this have to do your question about representing "for"? I just don't see any connection.
    – Greg Lee
    Dec 19, 2015 at 18:38

1 Answer 1


Just from this example it would seem that the type of for is ((e,t),t), ((e,t),(e,t)) -- because it combines with a DP to make up an adjunct to the VP. Thus, it could have a semantics like the following (I'm just making it up)

(1) [[for]] = λPet,tλQetλxe(Q(x) for(P))

Indeed I should sit down and think if it makes any sense :-) But I hope this helps -- I'll be interested to hear what you think.

  • Why did you use 'because-of' instead of 'for' in (1)? (If you use 'for', then we can conclude that we can use '[[for]]' when we can use 'for'.)
    – Greg Lee
    Dec 20, 2015 at 1:26
  • @GregLee: Nothing particular, just was trying to interpret 'for'. Sure, I've changed it to for. Dec 20, 2015 at 1:48

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