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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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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Why can't you treat prepositions as simply noun/verb modifiers (i.e. as adjectives or adverbs)?

I am working on a conlang and have (for many months/years?) been perplexed by the prepositions. They standout because they are extremely hard to pinpoint what they actually mean, unlike a noun or verb,...
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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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6 votes
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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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1 vote
1 answer
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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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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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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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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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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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Sentence with two PPs, without recursive embedding of either in the other

I'm having some difficulty with finding an example of an English sentence which includes two consecutive prepositional phrases without embedding. Would "We ran off into the sunset" qualify?
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Is to always a preposition? [closed]

[1] I am looking forward to seeing you. [2] I want to see you. In the sentence [1] we say that to is a preposition. followed by a gerund. In [2] we say to is a particle ...
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6 answers
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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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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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0 votes
2 answers
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"I gave Tom an apple" and "I gave an apple to Tom"

"I gave Tom an apple" and "I gave an apple to Tom" have the same meaning. The meaning of Tom receiving the apple comes form the position of the word in the former example and from the preposition in ...
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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 answer
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How to determine temporal prepositions

I have several phrases in my text such as 'The changes are consistent with post radiotherapy phrases' I would like to pick these sentences up Is there a way of using parts of speech to determine ...
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2 votes
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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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Term For A Prepositional Phrase With A Verb?

I know this is an adjectival prepositional phrase: I like the girl next to him. And I know this is an adverbial prepositional phrase: I went to the store. But what is the term for this? It's a ...
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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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3 votes
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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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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 votes
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Latest research on the meaning of prepositions

Trying to understand what a preposition is. Wikipedia gives some hints (adpositions are the general case of preposition/postposition/circumposition): ...Adpositions are classed as syntactic ...
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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
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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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6 votes
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'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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7 votes
2 answers
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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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1 vote
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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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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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1 vote
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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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6 votes
0 answers
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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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1 vote
3 answers
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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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The place of "isolated" nominal and prepositional elements/groups within a transitivity analysis

What is the place of "isolated" (i.e. "standing alone") nominal and prepositional elements/groups within a transitivity analysis (i.e. there is no mention of an explicit process), and how can one ...
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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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2 votes
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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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1 answer
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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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7 votes
2 answers
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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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1 vote
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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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3 votes
2 answers
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'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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8 votes
6 answers
858 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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1 vote
3 answers
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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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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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3 votes
1 answer
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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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4 votes
1 answer
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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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2 votes
0 answers
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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
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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 answer
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How does 'envisager de' presuppose nothing situational, but 'hésiter à' does?

Source: p 177, French prepositions à and de in infinitival complements, A pragma-semantic analysis (2008) by Lidia Fraczak, as part of Adpositions ; Pragmatic, semantic and syntactic perspectives (...
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0 votes
1 answer
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« essayé de s’évader » : How does « essayer de » not presuppose « s'evader »? [closed]

Source: p 175, French prepositions à and de in infinitival complements, A pragma-semantic analysis (2008) by Lidia Fraczak, as part of Adpositions ; Pragmatic, semantic and syntactic perspectives (...
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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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-1 votes
1 answer
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How does the French preposition 'de' connect to alienable possession? [closed]

Source: 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 edited by ...
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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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