13 votes

Preposition and postposition at the same time?

Modern academic English grammars now usually recognise prepositions as a class of words which just like nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs head their own phrases, have their own distribution and ...
11 votes
Accepted

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

Actually, the metaphors are all coherent, so there is a logic to it. As Colin explained in his comment, and as discussed in this post, Months and larger measures are Containers -- 3-Dimensional: in ...
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10 votes
Accepted

Do there exist languages with wh-prepositions?

German does have something like this: (list of abbreviations see below) Wo-r-auf hast du ein Spielzeug gelegt? where-ITF-on have you a toy put.PSTPTCP Where did you put a toy on? Wo-von ...
  • 6,273
10 votes

What is the difference between case and adpositions?

Semantically (in terms of meaning)? There's no real difference. Some languages might use an adposition for a certain meaning, while other languages use noun case. The underlying meaning can be exactly ...
  • 57.7k
9 votes

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

According to the Tok Pisin Wikibook, Tok Pisin does have compound prepositions beyond the two "basic" prepositions. There are two basic prepositions in Tok Pisin: bilong and long. bilong ...
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8 votes
Accepted

What kind of phrase is "until recently"?

Your 'rules' mix traditional and contemporary grammars. It's true in both traditional and contemporary grammars that a preposition phrase [PP] consists of a preposition and an object; but in ...
7 votes

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

The head of a phrase ought to affect the category of that phrase. In turn, we can estimate whether phrases are of different categories by examining facts of verb subcategorization. Paradigms like ...
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6 votes

Did the Greek adverb for "late" evolve into a preposition meaning "after"?

ὀψέ has survived in Modern Cypriot Greek, as the adverb ψες "last night". (The deletion of initial unstressed o- is semi-regular; the addition of final -s to adverbs is also semi-regular.) "late" > "(...
6 votes
Accepted

What other languages can get by in some cases without prepositions or particles like Somali?

Lots of languages, depending on exactly what you mean or are looking for. We have examples like your Somali examples in English: "middle of the road, outside of the town". Niger-Congo ...
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5 votes

Do there exist languages with wh-prepositions?

My assumption from Turkish is that agglutinative languages have this property. For example: Oyuncağı nereye koydun? Word by word: TheToy whon youput In Turkish "Ne" means What, but also is used ...
  • 492
5 votes
Accepted

Term For A Prepositional Phrase With A Verb?

I want him to run. "To" is not a preposition here but a subordinator that serves as a marker of to- infinitival clauses. "Want" is a catenative verb and this is a catenative construction where the ...
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5 votes

What is the difference between case and adpositions?

Maybe this isn't a universal distinction, since other answers do not mention it, and I apologize if it's too Indo-European centric, but I understand a major difference between cases and adpositions (...
  • 1,802
4 votes

Difference between particle and adverb in English

Things are called particles when they undergo the rule Particle Shift. "Particle" is an ad hoc POS made up to fill the need for a notation to use to describe when the rule works. It is not a happy ...
  • 12.3k
4 votes

What is the difference between a conjunction and a preposition?

Conjuctions, as you say, connect sentences and clauses, but also phrases and single words. Examples are and, or, but, because, neither ... nor, rather ... than, etc. Single-word conjunctions are ...
  • 6,273
4 votes

Is the word "here" a preposition?

"Here" is not a preposition per se. By definition, prepositions come before a noun phrase (or determiner phrase) to create prepositional phrases: He was (in (the house)). They saw him (with ...
  • 57.7k
4 votes

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

We imagine the time flowing at us from our front to our back, so the future is in front of us and the past is behind us, for us the time flows from the future into the past. I don't know about all the ...
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4 votes
Accepted

What languages do without "to"

The word "to" in English basically has three different unrelated uses. Historically they're not entirely unrelated, but it's easiest to think of them nowadays as homophones instead of the same word. ...
  • 57.7k
4 votes

What languages do without "to"

If you can access the Oxford English Dictionary, you can see a vast number of meanings of "to", just looking at their "prep., conj., and adv" entry. Thus, "Expressing motion directed towards and ...
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4 votes
Accepted

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

My MA thesis in 1967 was about that. It is "The English preposition WITH".
  • 12.3k
3 votes

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

It is genetic. Prepositions in Indo-European languages come from adverb-like particles which themselves often come from some sort of noun in a specific case. This adverb could be mostly anywhere in ...
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3 votes

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

The etymology is fairly straightforward. The temporal meaning of before is secondary to the spatial meaning. This is very common across all prepositions of time: at (5am), in (5 mins), on (Wednesday), ...
3 votes

Difference between particle and adverb in English

The following illustrates my second answer to this question, which is that "particles" have no part of speech. Earlier descriptions of subcategorization In that first generation of great young ...
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3 votes

The function of prepositional phrases

You're asking about both constituency and dependency. Constituency: Is "peek into" a phrasal verb or verb+preposition? So do we have [[peeking into][the alley]] or [peeking[into[the alley]]]? You ...
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3 votes

How does the prefix 'ad-' function in 'attribute'?

As curiousdannii says, the verb, in English and French is transitive; in fact, ditransitive. But in a larger sense the answer, as usual with "Why" questions, is BECAUSE THAT'S HOW IT IS. Languages ...
  • 6,744
3 votes

Latest research on the meaning of prepositions

A preposition is a non-phrasal syntactic element which precedes a nominal phrase. A postposition is a non-phrasal syntactic elements which follows a nominal phrase. It differs from a prefix in being a ...
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3 votes
Accepted

How to determine temporal prepositions

Short Answer: Part of speech tags can not be used to determine temporal prepositions. Long Answer: If you really want to do this, extract the prepositional phrases, and run those phrases through '...
3 votes

What is the difference between case and adpositions?

This was addressed in Kuryłowicz's paper "Le problème du classement des cas" written in 1949 (!) and what he wrote is still true. As mentioned in the other answers, prepositions differ from ...
  • 2,499
3 votes
Accepted

Is to always a preposition?

Historically, the two used to be the same. In other words, the English "TO-infinitive" started out as the preposition "to" plus a verbal noun; compare the Latin infinitive, which is derived from a ...
  • 57.7k
2 votes

Indo-European prepositions: why prepositions?

Yet every modern Indo-European language I know of uses prepositions primarily (one or two have postpositions as well, but in such languages prepositions are a clear majority) I think you are ...
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