Questions tagged [prepositions]

A class of words denoting temporal or spatial relations or other semantic roles. They are placed before the noun phrase they modify.

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How usual is it for languages to have both prepositions and postpositions?

It has seemed to me (though I might be wrong) that languages usually take either prepositions (English, German, Spanish) or postpositions (Japanese, Hungarian, Turkish). (Yes I know sometimes a ...
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10 votes
3 answers
760 views

What motivates / allows preposition stranding in English, but disallows it in other languages, like Mandarin?

If someone could direct me to papers/sites that describe this, and a summary or something, that would be great. It is just a parameter for languages? What do linguists think so far? Example: "Which ...
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8 votes
6 answers
857 views

Do there exist languages with wh-prepositions?

I can imagine a language where instead of "what did you put a toy on?" one says something like "whon did you put a toy?". Do such languages exist?
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8 votes
4 answers
2k views

Indo-European prepositions: why prepositions?

In a related but different question to Indo-European prepositions: whence did they come?, why do just about all modern Indo-European languages have prepositions rather than postpositions? PIE is ...
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7 votes
2 answers
438 views

How does Tok Pisin get by with just a few prepositions?

I know the language only has 'two' prepositions (though there seems to be a some dispute to that). Regardless, the two prepositions 'long' and 'bilong' seem to be quite broad in definition. I do ...
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7 votes
2 answers
5k views

Is the word "here" a preposition?

In a related question, I got entangled in a debate whether the word "here" (which I would classify readily as an adverb) is in reality a preposition. I am curious which modern analyses find ...
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6 votes
1 answer
321 views

Preposition and postposition at the same time?

In sentences like two days before Easter, "Easter" is the complement of the preposition "before", but what about the complement "two days"? Seeing that we can also say ...
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6 votes
0 answers
243 views

Are there any languages that either effectively don't have verbs or that somehow get around using a "standard" verb system?

By this, I'm asking whether there are languages (natural or constructed) which somehow function without verbs, relying instead upon other types of words like prepositions or something like that. ...
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6 votes
2 answers
251 views

'Ago' and 'on' vs. 'in'

Consider the phrase a month in in the following sentences: [1] a. Richmond turned nineteen his third week in Vietnam. A̲l̲m̲o̲s̲t̲ ̲a̲ ̲m̲o&...
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5 votes
6 answers
1k views

What is the difference between case and adpositions?

The preposition expressions like "on top of the table", "under the tree", "above the building" are very well understood. Comparing these with the Germany noun cases "auf dem Tisch", "unter dem Baum", "...
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5 votes
1 answer
240 views

Why do Spanish and other Romance Languages use the preposition "a" for culinary styles?

I've looked in the Real Academia Española dictionary and I can't find any information regarding why Spanish uses the preposition a for cooking styles, and I've noticed French and Italian do it too. I ...
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5 votes
4 answers
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Did the Greek adverb for "late" evolve into a preposition meaning "after"?

The Greek work opse meant late in Homer. By the time of Philostratus (3rd c. A.D.) it sometimes had the meaning of too late. Of course, if someone arrives too late for an event, they arrive "after" ...
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4 votes
1 answer
158 views

Why does English use different prepositions for different units of time?

Why do we say at six o'clock, on Monday, in 1996? Is there a deeper logic here than simply "that's how the English language works?"
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4 votes
1 answer
4k views

What kind of phrase is "until recently"?

I learned about prepositions: they establish a relation with two words the preposition is followed by an object -the object of a prepositional phrase is made by a noun phrase However, I don't know ...
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4 votes
1 answer
148 views

Whence אֶת between partners' names?

The word אֶת /et/ is used with the following meanings: In Biblical Hebrew, it means "with". In modern Hebrew it survives, but only with a complement-of-the-preposition pronoun suffix: "with me", "...
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4 votes
1 answer
278 views

Is "of the kitten" in "the paw of the kitten" a complement to the NP or an adjunct to the DP?

I'm drawing a tree for "the paw of the kitten" (from chapter 7 of Andrew Carnie's Syntax: A Generative Introduction). This chapter is "extending X-bar theory", so please keep that ...
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4 votes
1 answer
855 views

Term for the modified part of a prepositional complement

A prepositional complement is the noun phrase that follows a preposition. So, given sentences like John saw the woman with an umbrella. and John saw the moon with a telescope. The ...
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4 votes
1 answer
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Why are prepositions and subordinate conjunctions grouped as the same tag in the Penn Treebank tag set?

I was reading a book by Jurafsky et. al. It states following: English adpositions occur before nouns, hence are called prepositions. They can indicate spatial or temporal relations, whether literal (...
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3 votes
2 answers
637 views

Why is the preposition treated as the head of a prepositional phrase?

What are the theoretical reasons for treating the preposition as the head of a prepositional phrase? (Noun as head of NP sounds fine intuitively, but the same does not apply to prepositions in ...
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3 votes
3 answers
200 views

What makes the "an" a determiner in one situation and a preposition in another in English?

The "an" word is usually a determiner: I will be ready in an hour. It can also be used as a preposition with the meaning of "per": My rate is $10 an hour. How can I tell in each particular situation ...
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3 votes
2 answers
376 views

'Before'/'after' as a spatial metaphor: is the opposite possible?

In English (and, apparently, most Indo-European languages, if not in all), a common trait can be noticed concerning the prepositions/adverbs of temporal reference: 'before' and (to a lesser extent in ...
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3 votes
1 answer
1k views

What is the difference between a conjunction and a preposition?

What exactly is the difference between them? I've seen people say that prepositions connect words and conjunctions connect syntagms and clauses. Is this definition accurate? Is there any linguist who ...
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3 votes
2 answers
320 views

Is there such a thing as a "floating preposition"?

Floating quantifiers are quantifiers that can move away from the corresponding noun, such as "each" in "The boys hit each other" where it modifies "The boys". I am interested in prepositions in these ...
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  • 3,085
3 votes
1 answer
90 views

Is there a language whose syntactic structure accepts a specifier of a PP?

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 ...
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3 votes
1 answer
116 views

Antecedents of prepositions and adverbs

It seems that some prepositions and clausal adverbs have antecedents while others do not – for example because and therefore require antecedents, while in and clearly do not. I was wondering whether ...
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  • 455
3 votes
1 answer
381 views

Case assignment with prepositions

Consider these examples: 'I am happy with my parents' my parents gets assigned Case by 'with'. *'I am proud with my parents' My question is as follows: What is the reasoning for 2 being ...
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  • 279
3 votes
1 answer
87 views

What aspect or feature do "over TIME" constructions have?

I have been searching around but as far as I can tell there is no established name for the aspect demonstrated by sentences such as: "I'll read this report over the weekend." "The debt has ...
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  • 480
3 votes
2 answers
173 views

Case in English phrase "friend of mine"

In English phrases like Jesse is a friend of mine/*of me the case of the word "mine" is not the oblique ("me") which usually occurs with prepositions ("That's a part of me that you don't see too ...
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2 votes
5 answers
2k views

Why does "before" mean both "in front of" and "prior to"?

The word "before" means both "in front of" and "prior to". Not only in English though - in many European languages: in Dutch "voor" means both in Italian "prima" can mean both (afaik) in French "(en) ...
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  • 1,217
2 votes
1 answer
57 views

Where can I find an analysis of the semantic overlap of English "to have" and "with"?

For years I've understood via my native speaker intuition and my interest in languages and linguistics that the preposition "with" can carry the semantic meaning of the verb "to have". The man who ...
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2 votes
1 answer
188 views

What are the terms for a) the constituent before a preposition and b) the constituent after a preposition?

Consider phrases such as these: "Joe from France" "Transport of wheat" "Walking to Berlin Are there specific grammatical terms for a) the constituent that occurs immediately before a preposition ...
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2 votes
1 answer
76 views

generic definite article with uncountable/mass nouns after preposition 'of' indicating material

The 'generic' subclass of the definite article treated in the pag. 112, section 1.12.3.1 of the Modern Written Arabic: A Comprehensive Grammar reads as follows "it denotes a generic meaning مائدة من ...
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2 votes
1 answer
477 views

Classification of adjuncts in preposition phrases

In the sentence "the mad cow jumped right over the moon", the adjunct 'right' modifies the preposition 'over' in the preposition phrase 'right over the moon'. As the adjunct 'mad' to 'cow' is an ...
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2 votes
0 answers
127 views

Can prepositions take raised objects in English?

In English, some verbs are said to take raised objects as in: I believe you to be seriously mistaken. Here, the verb believe takes you as a raised object. Can the same be said about prepositions? ...
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2 votes
0 answers
44 views

Is there a study of contemporary changes in V+preposition constructions

I am interested in knowing of any studies of historical changes to verb plus PP constructions in contemporary English. An example is the rise of constructions like "advocate for NP", e.g. "He's ...
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2 votes
0 answers
75 views

What is some standard analysis for "Look me in the eye"

I am looking for hints where to find a ("standard") analysis of something like this english dative construction: Look me in the eye Clearly, the "the" in this phrase is semantically scoped BY the me ...
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1 vote
3 answers
510 views

What languages do without "to"

I'm trying to figure out what the meaning of to is. By that I mean, what is it's deeper grammatical structure. Knowing that it is a preposition (a pre-position), an infinitive marker, or an adverb isn'...
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1 vote
3 answers
2k views

Difference between particle and adverb in English

Some dictionaries such as Cambridge Online Dictionary defines the word particle as a word or a part of a word that has a grammatical purpose but often has little or no meaning: In the sentence "I ...
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1 vote
3 answers
3k views

The function of prepositional phrases

I'm looking at the function of prepositional phrases within a sentence, and particularly in this example as a part of a verb phrase. The example I have is: I remember the precise moment, crouching ...
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1 vote
2 answers
156 views

The complement of postmodifying prepositional phrases compounded by "and"

How does one parse "the need for and development of education"? "Education" naturally acts as the complement of both the prepositions "for" and "of", and the prepositions surely postmodify the nouns ...
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1 vote
1 answer
164 views

Is "Since + clause" a noun clause or adverbial clause in this phrase?

I wanted to know if "since + clause" was an adverbial clause or noun clause in the phrase or after the phrase "it's been a while since I've seen you.". I was thinking “it's been … ...
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1 vote
2 answers
722 views

Description of various placements of PPs in a syntax tree

How would you describe the difference in modifications a PP can make to a VP i.e. [I want to visit them][before this time] versus [I want to [visit them before this time]] I understand there is ...
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1 vote
0 answers
57 views

Substituting prepositional phrases

In English, if you take the sentence behind the house was untidy, what is untidy is really an area behind the house – so assuming for now that behind the house can be regarded as the subject of the ...
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1 vote
0 answers
29 views

Has there been any development or long lasting influence of Leonard Talmy's work?

I've read some of Talmy's work particularly that of his semantic analysis of the spatial organization inherent in the meaning of prepositions like "across","around" or "over" among others. I've found ...
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1 vote
0 answers
43 views

How to differentiate between adjuncts and complements? Specifically when the sentence has two prepositional phrases [duplicate]

When a sentence has 2 prepositional phrases, how I can determine whether the second prepositional phrase is a complement of the first prepositional phrase or it's an adjunct to the whole sentence? ...
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1 vote
0 answers
59 views

English verbs requiring PP

Are there a set of English verbs that require a prepositional phrase? For example: "The set consists of A and B." = GOOD "The set consists" = BAD Is there a name for this type of verb? They seem to ...
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1 vote
0 answers
60 views

A sort/type/kind of N. Which is the head?

Let's take the example 'A kiwi is [a type of bird]'. Page 109 of this book https://faculty.mu.edu.sa/public/uploads/1367260110.5528Understanding%20Syntax.pdf sais that the head of a phrase: A. Has ...
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  • 103
1 vote
3 answers
145 views

How could we say it is a “object” by the definition?

The Object is a noun or a pronoun that receives an action in a sentence. There are three types namely Diect object,Indirect object and Object of a preposition. Both direct object and indirect object ...
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1 vote
0 answers
86 views

Idiomatic modifiers that have completely different impact on the same word

I'm thinking about similarly-formed idiomatic constructs like this cluster: 'Put up' - (#1) to allow someone to reside, usually in an ad-hoc temporary manner ('He put up John and I put up Mike; it ...
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1 vote
0 answers
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What special relationship does 'de' reveal between a main verb and the infinitive?

Source: pp 367-368, The semantics of ‘empty prepositions’ in French (1996) by Kemmer and Shyldkrot, as part of Cognitive Linguistics in the Redwoods: The Expansion of a New Paradigm in Linguistics ...
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