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    #1

    Adverb/preposition

    It's a bit confusing to know wether the word "outside" in the first following sentence is adverb or preposition?

    I am standing outside your house/home.

    Or

    I am standing outside of your house/home.

    In the second sentence, it's very obvious to pick up the adverb "outside", but we don't say that way "....outside of....."., right?

  1. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Adverb/preposition

    It's either an adverb or a preposition. Does it matter which?
    "Invading armies have no rights." Noam Chomsky

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    #3

    Re: Adverb/preposition

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    Hello,

    Mona (on the telephone): Where are you?

    Raul: (on the telephone): I'm standing outside.

    I think that many books would call "outside" an adverb, for there is no object after "outside.

    ---

    If there is an object, then many books feel that it would be a good idea to parse it as a preposition: "I'm standing outside your home. Would you please open the door?"

    *****

    According to The Columbia Guide to Standard American English (1993) by Kenneth G. Wilson, some people feel that "outside of" is not concise. In other words, the preposition "outside" is enough in your sentence. But Mr. Wilson adds that "brevity isn't everything." He does not explain what he means, but I am guessing that sometimes we use "unnecessary" words just because they sound nice or because in conversation, too much brevity could seem rude. So if you want to say "I was standing outside of my house," then there's no problem. "Outside of" in such a sentence is parsed as a [compound] preposition.

    By the way, he also points out that sometimes "outside of" means "in addition to": "Outside of my father, no one [else] has called today." [In such a case, you canNOT delete the "of."]

  2. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Adverb/preposition

    I am standing outside. There is no question that "outside" is an adverb. It answers the question "where?"

    I am standing outside your house. In this case, "outside" is a preposition bevause it has an object.

    I agree with the Parser that "outside of" your house makes "outside of" a compound preposition.

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    #5

    Re: Adverb/preposition

    Some grammarians (eg, Huddleston and Pullum in The Cambridge Grammar of Modern English Grammar (2002) and Bas Aarts in his Oxford Modern English Grammar (2011) argue that 'outside' in "I am standing outside" is a preposition. Such an idea is not totally new. Otto Jespersen suggested that there were arguments for including such words in an expanded single word class. in The Philosphy of Grammar (1924).

  4. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Adverb/preposition

    A preposition without an object? Not in my world.

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    #7

    Re: Adverb/preposition

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork View Post
    A preposition without an object? Not in my world.
    Fine, but learners need to know that there are other thoughts on this.

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    #8

    Re: Adverb/preposition

    That's fine, but there were no reasons given for those other thoughts. And one source was almost 100 years old.

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    #9

    Re: Adverb/preposition

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****

    In my opinion, learners who ask about the parts of speech want to pass their examinations.

    So I agree that students should follow the models in post #4.

    On the other hand, people who happen to be interested in analysis should consider the comments in post #5.

    I have never taken a university-level linguistics class, but I have heard from time to time that the whole preposition vs. adverb matter is not so simple as the usual secondary grammar book rules indicate.

    Here is just one comment from one scholar:

    "So close ... is the correspondence [between adverbs and prepositions] that many grammarians, beginning with Aristotle, have refused to recognize them as two different parts of speech. Prepositions are described as adverbs that take objects, and the preposition is viewed as no more different from the adverb than the transitive verb is from the intransitive."

    He goes on to say that "There is logic in this approach, but [he admits that] the fact remains that the term preposition [is] very convenient."

    He also gives this example: "He shot at the lion."

    a. Is "at the lion" a prepositional phrase that modifies "shot"?
    b. Is "shot at" a transitive verb with "lion" as its object?
    i. After all, he points out, we can say "The lion was shot at."

    Authority: Paul Roberts, Understanding Grammar (1954), page 229.


    Here is what another scholar opines.

    1. He came across the bridge.
    2. He came across.

    The scholar says that -- in the view of some scholars -- "there is no reason in principle [my emphasis] why [#2] should not simply be classified as [a preposition] which can occur with or without [my emphasis] a complement."

    Authority: Rodney Huddleston, Introduction to the Grammar of English (1984), pages 348 - 349.

    *****

    In my opinion, learners should definitely follow the traditional rules regarding the difference between prepositions and adverbs. The goal is to pass the tests!

    On the other hand, I believe that all of us should let advanced learners know that the whole area of parsing in English is not so simple as the traditional textbook would have us think.

    I have found that when it comes to analyzing English, we should do so with a huge dose of humility.

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    #10

    Re: Adverb/preposition

    The parsing of grammar is as simple as we choose it to be. Those who strive to make it complicated do us all a disservice.

    If someone says that a preposition without an object is an adverb, then let's call it an adverb. Problem solved.

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