We know a preposition (in X-bar theory) is the head of a prepositional phrase and it has a complement that is the sister of this very preposition. However I've never seen a language with a constituent in the specifier position of the PP.

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Is there a reason for that? Is there a language that fills it with something?


2 Answers 2


In his syntax textbook, Richard Larson (2010: 346-7) suggests that measure phrases in PPs, e.g. “three miles” in “three miles down the road”, occupy the specifier of PP. If that’s correct, English is a language that can have constituents in Spec,PP - though it doesn’t always.


English has PP specifiers!

The bird flew right over us.

My friend lives just around the corner.

Most dictionaries seem to call these adverbs, but syntactically they serve a different function than words like quickly or carefully, but I'm not aware of a different name in the literature for words like this.

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