I am currently working on a paper about the "Adj like (article) Noun" construction. Some would consider that which comes after the "like"-part to be a prepositional phrase if "like" is understood as a preposition, while others consider it an adjective; but this latter view is in my opinion counterintuitive. Anyway; are there any papers on this topic that I could use as sources? It would be most helpful if there were papers with a construction grammar viewpoint on this, but others would be fine as well. I see that some call this "comparative construction" but only in the context of other constructions, and mostly just as a footnote, and there are almost no papers dealing primarily with this exact construction.

I would appreciate your help.


From what I see you confuse several things here. On the one hand you cannot take like and just change the word class. And then argue it has a different meaning. For example when you use like as a adjective. It needs a noun after it. Otherwise it won't be able to act as an adjective. And when I say after it I mean directly after it. A determiner in between will automatically change like into a preposition. In this position the word like cannot have any other role than being a adjective. A very common example for this would be "like mind" in a sentence like: We are of like mind. Or you say: We are of like height. This is the only possible way for like being used in the sense of an adjective. Your examples all feature like as a different word class.

But in all your examples you present like as a preposition which is followed by an determiner and a noun.

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    Is this answer based on any academic papers? Statements like "A determiner in between will automatically change like into a preposition" should have a source to be helpful. – brass tacks Feb 12 at 1:52
  • “like_6 Adjective - Definition, Pictures, Pronunciation and Usage Notes: Oxford Advanced American Dictionary at OxfordLearnersDictionaries.com,” like_6 adjective - Definition, pictures, pronunciation and usage notes | Oxford Advanced American Dictionary at OxfordLearnersDictionaries.com, accessed February 12, 2021, oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/definition/american_english/…. And you can check any other dictionary entries like Cambridge etc. Or simply go and read the Longman Grammar. – Jannik Feb 12 at 2:11
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    Learners dictionaries are not suitable as resources for linguists or linguistics students. For a start dictionaries are utterly useless on parts of speech, which is not surprising because they are dictionaries and not grammars. Secondly your assumptions there are very simplistic. For example in so dangerous a situation, the word dangerous is an adjective and not a preposition despite having an article between it and the following noun. Furthermore there are many other tests that indicate adjective- or preposition-hood. Like passes some adjective ones and fails some preposition ones. – Araucaria - Not here any more. Feb 13 at 23:05
  • Although I do agree that it is, synchronically, a preposition! – Araucaria - Not here any more. Feb 13 at 23:08
  • @Araucaria-Nothereanymore.I was not talking about the syntactical rule for adjectives in general.I was solely referring to the use of like as an adjective. Like is according to corpus data (e.g. COCA and MICUSP) always used like this. If like is used as an adjective it always follows the exact same pattern that is described in the learners and also advanced dictionaries. I never said in one sentence that this is a rule set for adjectives in general. – Jannik Feb 15 at 18:13

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