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  1. #1
    Luckysquirty is offline Junior Member
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    The word "all"

    He spilled milk all over the floor.

    Does the word "all" function as an adverb modifying e prepositional phrase "over the floor"?Or is it a determiner or some other part of speech? Thank you.

  2. #2
    PaulMatthews is offline Senior Member
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    Re: The word "all"

    He spilled milk all over the floor.



    I think it’s preferable to treat "all" as a determinative, where the underlined sequence is a PP in which "all" functions as modifier.

    "All over" is partly idiomatic: if we omit "all" the natural preposition to use would be "on" rather than "over".

  3. #3
    TheParser is offline VIP Member
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    Re: The word "all"

    NOT A TEACHER


    Hi,

    1. Thanks to your question, I was able to learn something new about English grammar today.

    2. I checked three sources.

    a. The website Wiktionary feels that one should parse "all over" (as used in your sentence) as a preposition. Its example: "He dropped the bucket and got paint all over the floor."

    b. L.G. Alexander's Longman English Grammar (1988), pages 151-152, parses "all" as an adverb that modifies the preposition in "Our baby went on crying all through the night."

    c. Four respected scholars in A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language (1985), page 685, give this sentence: "They splashed water (all) over me." The parentheses indicate that the authors feel that "all" is optional.

    *****

    In my opinion, "He spilled milk over the floor" does not sound natural. I feel that "all" is required in your sentence. Therefore, I personally would parse "all over" in your type of sentence as a preposition.

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