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Encyclopedia > Preposition
It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with adposition. (Discuss)

In grammar, a preposition is a type of adposition, a grammatical particle that establishes a relationship between an object (usually a noun phrase) and some other part of the sentence, often expressing a location in place or time. Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... In grammar, an adposition is a word or affix which shows a words grammatical function. ... Grammar is the discovery, enunciation, and study of rules governing the use of language. ... In grammar, an adposition is a word or affix which shows a words grammatical function. ... In linguistics, the term particle is often employed as a useful catch-all lacking a strict definition. ... WordNet gives four main senses for the English noun object: a physical entity; something that is within the grasp of the senses; an aim, target or objective — see Object (task); a grammatical Object — either a direct object or an indirect object the focus of cognitions or feelings. ... In linguistics, a noun phrase is a phrase whose Head is a noun. ... In linguistics, a sentence is a unit of language, characterised in most languages by the presence of a finite verb. ...

Contents


Examples

Examples (indicating preposition and the prepositional phrase):

  • My cat is on the sofa.
  • I knitted throughout the day.
  • They will not be finished until lunchtime.
  • The keys are between the cushions.
  • A man hid behind the door

Prepositional phrases

The preposition and its object make up a prepositional phrase, which can be used to modify noun phrases and verb phrases in the manner of adjectives and adverbs. For example, in the sentence "He has a can of lemonade", the prepositional phrase of lemonade is used to modify the noun can. In the sentence "The girl sat in the chair", the prepositional phrase in the chair modifies the verb sat. A prepositional phrase is a linguistic term for a phrase whose head is a preposition. ... A verb phrase (VP) is a phrase whose head is a verb. ... An adjective is a part of speech which modifies a noun, usually making its meaning more specific. ... An adverb is a part of speech that usually serves to modify verbs, adjectives, other adverbs, clauses, and sentences. ... A noun, or noun substantive, is a part of speech (a word or phrase) that refers to a person, place, thing, event, substance or quality. ... A verb is a part of speech that usually denotes action (bring, read), occurrence (decompose, glitter), or a state of being (exist, stand). Depending on the language, a verb may vary in form according to many factors, possibly including its tense, aspect, mood and voice. ...


Although the canonical object of a preposition is a noun phrase, there are cases in which another kind of phrase forms a preposition's object. For instance, in the sentence "Come out from under the bed", the object of the preposition from is another prepositional phrase, under the bed. Furthermore, according to some analyses, in the sentence "I opened the door before he walked in", before is not a conjunction but rather a preposition whose object is a full sentence (he walked in).


In common speech, the object of a preposition may be implied. For instance, "Get in the car" may be shortened to "Get in." One school of thought believes that it is acceptable to treat prepositions as adjectives, nouns, or adverbs, in which case, the "in" in "Get in" acts as an adverb.


English prescriptive guidelines

In English usage, prescriptivists often argue that, since prepositions are usually meant to come before the words they modify, one should not end a sentence with a preposition. This guideline stems from the pre-20th century belief that Latin is a perfect language, since it never changes. Latin was the literary language among English speakers in the Middle Ages, and Church Latin remains the language of the Catholic Church to this day. In Latin, prepositions always immediately precede the nouns they modify, thus never appearing at the end of a sentence. In linguistics, prescription is the laying down or prescribing of normative rules for a language. ... (19th century - 20th century - 21st century - more centuries) Decades: 1900s 1910s 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s As a means of recording the passage of time, the 20th century was that century which lasted from 1901–2000 in the sense of the Gregorian calendar (1900–1999 in the... Latin is an ancient Indo-European language originally spoken in the region around Rome called Latium. ... A literary language is a register of a language that is used in writing, and which often differs in lexicon and syntax from the language used in speech. ... The Middle Ages formed the middle period in a traditional schematic division of European history into three ages: the classical civilization of Antiquity, the Middle Ages, and modern times, beginning with the Renaissance. ... Ecclesiastical Latin, sometimes called Church Latin, is the Latin language as used in documents of the Roman Catholic Church. ... The Roman Catholic Church believes its founding was based on Jesus appointment of Saint Peter as the primary church leader, later Bishop of Rome. ...


The reason Latin does not change, however, is that there are no more native speakers. When Latin was an active language, it changed over time just like any other language. Furthermore, Latin is a heavily inflected language, while Modern English relies primarily on word order to convey grammatical meaning.1 As a result, English has far more prepositions than Latin. Latin does not need as many prepositions because its larger number of cases supplement prepositions in their function of conveying grammatical meaning. These realizations have come relatively recently by descriptive linguistics. This article is about inflection in linguistics. ... For the 80s pop band, see Modern English (band). ... Word order, in linguistic typology, refers to the order in which words appear in sentences across different languages. ... This is a list of cases as they are used by various inflectional languages that have declension. ... Descriptive linguistics is the work of analyzing and describing how language is actually spoken now (or how it was actually spoken in the past), by any group of people. ...


Following this prescriptivist guideline can make sentences more complicated. For example, compare "The table I'd like to sit at", with "The table at which I'd like to sit". To most English speakers, the former sounds more natural, while the latter sounds stilted and overly formal. "The table where I'd like to sit" is one possible compromise between these two options, and should avoid offending those who prefer sentences not to end in prepositions.


Winston Churchill is said to have received a memo, clumsily phrased to avoid ending sentences with prepositions, and to have put in the margin the parody: "This is the sort of nonsense up with which I shall not put!" The Right Honourable Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, KG, OM, CH, TD, FRS (30 November 1874 – 24 January 1965) was an British statesman, best known as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. ...


Morris Bishop contrived a poem whose final sentence ends with no fewer than seven prepositions in a row:

I lately lost a preposition
It hid, I thought, beneath my chair
And angrily I cried, "Perdition!
Up from out of in under there."

Correctness is my vade mecum,
And straggling phrases I abhor,
And yet I wondered, "What should he come
Up from out of in under for?"

A common reaction to the issue can be phrased as "What did you bring this subject (which I'm not interested in) up for?"


Many other Germanic languages, such as German, employ separable prefix verbs in which a prefix (usually adopted from a preposition) modifies a verb. The prefix frequently appears separate from the verb at the end of the sentence. For instance, "arrive" in German is "ankommen" (literally the word "to" prefixed to the word "come"). A sentence that uses this verb in any form other than as an infinitive, however, will put the "an" at the end of the sentence: "Die Frau kommt um 7 Uhr in Köln an." (Literally: "The woman comes at seven o'clock in Cologne to."; Idiomatically: "The woman arrives in Cologne at seven o'clock.") Some grammarians hold that English prepositions at the ends of sentences are related to this Germanic usage, and therefore natural parts of the English language. But, it should be noted that separable prefixes are not prepositions and do not generally modify or introduce prepositional clauses. The Germanic languages form one of the branches of the Indo-European (IE) language family. ...


Also note that some English sentences that appear to be ending with a preposition are really ending with an adverb. In the sentence "The cat jumped up", up is not a preposition, but an adverb or particle. An adverb is a part of speech that usually serves to modify verbs, adjectives, other adverbs, clauses, and sentences. ... In linguistics, the term particle is often employed as a useful catch-all lacking a strict definition. ...


Other relational particles

Some languages, such as Japanese, place relational particles after the noun and thus have what are called postpositions. A postposition is a type of adposition, a grammatical particle that expresses some sort of relationship between a noun phrase (its object) and another part of the sentence; an adpositional phrase functions as an adjective or adverb. ...


In Chinese, certain verbs known as coverbs express many of the relationships usually expressed by prepositions. Because coverbs appear before the noun phrase they modify and essentially function as prepositions, they are often referred to as prepositions, even though they are lexically verbs and can in many cases stand alone as the main verb. Wikipedia does not yet have an article with this exact name. ...


In inflected languages, prepositions need not be separate words; their function can instead be performed by a system of inflections on nouns called case or declension. Many linguists consider prepositions and postpositions, like inflectional particles, to all mark case. Due to this functional similarity, there is a small amount of contention regarding the difference between a case marker and an adposition. Otto Jespersen contends that the difference is purely related to form: agglutinative languages have case markers, while isolating languages have adpositions. In The Philosophy of Language, he states that "[T]here is a fundamental incongruity between the Latin system where the case-distinctions are generally, though not always, expressed in form, and the English system where they are never thus expressed" (178; emphasis original). John Taylor, on the other hand, proposes a definition that restricts case markers to those particles with a nominal profile -- that is, the phrase marked by a case marker can serve as a noun, whereas a phrase marked by an adposition cannot. This article is about inflection in linguistics. ... In linguistics, declension is a feature of inflected languages: generally, the alteration of a noun to indicate its grammatical role. ... In linguistics, a marker is a free or bound morpheme that indicates the grammatical function of the marked word or sentence. ... Otto Jespersen is also the name of a famous Norwegian comedian. ... It has been suggested that Agglutination be merged into this article or section. ... An analytic language (or isolating language) is a language in which the vast majority of morphemes are free morphemes and considered to be full-fledged words. By contrast, in a synthetic language, a word is composed of agglutinated or fused morphemes that denote its syntactic meanings. ...


Notes

  1. Historically, English was in fact an inflected language, relying on cases as well as word order to convey grammatical information. Thus English had a much smaller number of prepositions in its lexicon. However, as Old English evolved into Middle English into Modern English, inflections were dropped in favor of word order, and many new prepositions were added. See: History of the English language; Declension in English.

This article is about inflection in linguistics. ... This is a list of cases as they are used by various inflectional languages that have declension. ... Word order, in linguistic typology, refers to the order in which words appear in sentences across different languages. ... A lexicon is usually a list of words together with additional word-specific information, i. ... Old English (also called Anglo-Saxon) is an early form of the English language that was spoken in parts of what is now England and southern Scotland between the mid-fifth century and the mid-twelfth century. ... Middle English is the name given by historical linguistics to the diverse forms of the English language spoken between the Norman invasion in 1066 and the mid-to-late 15th century, when the Chancery Standard, a form of London-based English, began to become widespread, a process aided by the... For the 80s pop band, see Modern English (band). ... This article deals with the history of the English language. ... The English language once had an extensive declension system similar to modern German or Icelandic. ...

See also

This is a list of English prepositions. ...

External Links

  • Learn English and Spanish prepositions. More grammar resources.

  Results from FactBites:
 
What is a Preposition? (286 words)
The word or phrase that the preposition introduces is called the object of the preposition.
Here, the preposition "throughout" introduces the noun phrase "the land." The prepositional phrase acts as an adverb describing the location of the rejoicing.
The preposition "along" introduces the noun phrase "the banister" and the prepositional phrase "along the banister" acts as an adverb, describing where the spider crawled.
Highbeam Encyclopedia - Search Results for preposition (629 words)
preposition in English, the part of speech embracing a small number of words used before nouns and pronouns to connect them to the preceding material, e.g., of, in, and about.
Prepositions are a class that is typical of the structure of Indo-European languages, but similar classes are found in some other
The parts of speech are noun, verb, adjective, adverb, interjection, preposition, conjunction, and pronoun.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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