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  1. #1
    birgit33 is offline Member
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    under the pile of books : 1 or 2 prepositional phrases ?

    "He found it under the pile of books." Is there one prepositional phrase "under the pile of books", or are there two : "under the pile" and "of books" ?

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    ratóncolorao is offline Member
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    Re: under the pile of books : 1 or 2 prepositional phrases ?

    Quote Originally Posted by birgit33 View Post
    "He found it under the pile of books." Is there one prepositional phrase "under the pile of books", or are there two : "under the pile" and "of books" ?

    Hello,

    The preposition of place "under" is heading the phrase "the pile of books" .
    "of books" is the complement of the noun "pile".
    The linking word between the two nouns : "pile" and "books" is also a preposition.

    Neither a teacher nor a native speaker.

  3. #3
    TheParser is offline VIP Member
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    Re: under the pile of books : 1 or 2 prepositional phrases ?

    Quote Originally Posted by birgit33 View Post
    "He found it under the pile of books." Is there one prepositional phrase "under the pile of books", or are there two : "under the pile" and "of books" ?

    ***** A NON-TEACHER'S OPINION *****


    (1) I believe that the sentence "He found it under the pile of books"

    would be analyzed as having two prepositional phrases.

    (a) Professor Quirk's book, I believe, refers to your two

    prepositional phrases as "free noun-phrase sequences"

    (page 671 in the 1985 edition of A Comprehensive Grammar of the

    English Language).

    (i) One of his "tests": can we delete (erase/forget) the second

    prepositional phrase and still have "good" English? Let's try:

    He found it under the pile.

    I think that sentence qualifies as a good sentence.

    Therefore, your sentence has two prepositional phrases.

    If I understand the good professor, we could extend your

    sentence with more phrases:

    He found it under the pile of books at the back door of my house

    on Main Street. (That horrible sentence is only mine. I'm

    trying to show you how you can extend your sentence. I think the

    professor uses the word "embed.")

    (2) In doing my research, I found something that I think will

    interest you. Look at this sentence (again from Professor Quirk's

    book):

    I did it on behalf of Jim.

    In such a sentence, you have one so-called "complex

    preposition": on behalf of. (Of course, you cannot say:

    I did it on behalf. Therefore, "on behalf of" is a unit.)


    Respectfully yours,


    James

    P.S. Thanks a million for your question. It forced me to learn a lot.

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