# Divided By..is this a preposition

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#### alkaspeltzar

##### Member
I know prepositions can be made all the time, and most list are not 100% by any means.

Is "divided By" a preposition just like " in addition to" or "according to" are?

Obviously this would be used more in math, but I could only find this site confirming it.
English Prepositions | learn English prepositions

#### alkaspeltzar

##### Member
I guess there is a second question, how can you tell when such expressions are prepositions, solely by how they are used and their meaning within the body of the sentences?

Just curious, since no list exists to show one.

#### Raymott

##### VIP Member
I guess there is a second question, how can you tell when such expressions are prepositions, solely by how they are used and their meaning within the body of the sentences?

Just curious, since no list exists to show one.
I wouldn't call those prepositions. "divided by" is a participial adjective followed by a preposition. It's a prepositional phrase.

#### philo2009

##### Senior Member
I wouldn't call those prepositions. "divided by" is a participial adjective followed by a preposition. It's a prepositional phrase.

Sorry, but I must disagree with this analysis: a prepositional phrase is one introduced by, not ending with, a preposition (e.g. in the house, by the side, etc.)

In the underlined portion of e.g.

Twelve divided by three is four.

the subject, numerical noun 'twelve' (= 'the number twelve'), is postmodified by the participial phrase 'divided by three', whose head is the participle 'divided', postmodified in turn by the prepositional phrase 'by three'.

#### alkaspeltzar

##### Member
Sorry, but I must disagree with this analysis: a prepositional phrase is one introduced by, not ending with, a preposition (e.g. in the house, by the side, etc.)

In the underlined portion of e.g.

Twelve divided by three is four.

the subject, numerical noun 'twelve' (= 'the number twelve'), is postmodified by the participial phrase 'divided by three', whose head is the participle 'divided', postmodified in turn by the prepositional phrase 'by three'.

Prepositions can be more than one word, and they can be created all the time. The word "OVER" can be a preposition. Therefore shouldn't "divided by" since they mean the same thing?

Ex: 12 over 4...... 12 divided by 4.

From what I have learned, 12 is the head noun, divided by is the preposition, divided by 4 is the prepositional phrase modifying 12. So everything told to me now is confusing since that orginal website says "divided by" is a preposition.

#### alkaspeltzar

##### Member
Prepositions can be more than one word, and they can be created all the time. The word "OVER" can be a preposition. Therefore shouldn't "divided by" since they mean the same thing?

Ex: 12 over 4...... 12 divided by 4.

From what I have learned, 12 is the head noun, divided by is the preposition, divided by 4 is the prepositional phrase modifying 12. So everything told to me now is confusing since that orginal website says "divided by" is a preposition.

Can someone clarify this? can someone tell me then why these sites like posted above are calling "divided by" a preposiition if others believe it isnt? Thanks

#### philo2009

##### Senior Member
Can someone clarify this? can someone tell me then why these sites like posted above are calling "divided by" a preposiition if others believe it isnt? Thanks

I would not trust anything said about grammar on a website where 'divided by' is labelled a preposition. Yes, 'over' is indeed a preposition, but 'divided by' is not. Two different grammatical constructions, in this context, simply happen to result in a similar overall meaning.

#### Raymott

##### VIP Member
Sorry, but I must disagree with this analysis: a prepositional phrase is one introduced by, not ending with, a preposition (e.g. in the house, by the side, etc.)
Yes, of course you are right. My main point was that "divided by" is not a preposition. I should have stopped there.

#### alkaspeltzar

##### Member
Yes, of course you are right. My main point was that "divided by" is not a preposition. I should have stopped there.

Okay, but isn't true that new contructions for compound prepositions are made everyday...so this begs the question...if it means the same as "Over", acts the same as a preposition, then why is it not one?

Kinda like if an adjective gets used as a noun, then in the case of that word, it is defined as a noun. Many words can be both. I don't understand why "included by" is a preposition, listed all the time, and "divided by" is not, what is the difference?

THis is confusing, what is the rule? How can you tell one construction for acting as a preposition versus one that is if they mean the same, i guess that is what i am asking?

#### Raymott

##### VIP Member
Okay, but isn't true that new contructions for compound prepositions are made everyday...so this begs the question...if it means the same as "Over", acts the same as a preposition, then why is it not one?

Kinda like if an adjective gets used as a noun, then in the case of that word, it is defined as a noun. Many words can be both. I don't understand why "included by" is a preposition, listed all the time, and "divided by" is not, what is the difference?

THis is confusing, what is the rule? How can you tell one construction for acting as a preposition versus one that is if they mean the same, i guess that is what i am asking?
The meaning of a string of words is a matter of semantics. Denoting something as a preposition is a question of syntax.
There is no rule that prevents two syntactically different phrases from having the same semantic value.
A beautiful woman = A woman of beauty. "beautiful" is an adjective; "of beauty" is a prepositional phrase, with a preposition and a noun.

#### alkaspeltzar

##### Member
The meaning of a string of words is a matter of semantics. Denoting something as a preposition is a question of syntax.
There is no rule that prevents two syntactically different phrases from having the same semantic value.
A beautiful woman = A woman of beauty. "beautiful" is an adjective; "of beauty" is a prepositional phrase, with a preposition and a noun.

I do agree with this but not for the example I am using. For your example yes, the word woman is modified, by an adjective, and then a preposition. But you are changing the structure of the phrase to do so, showing the meanings are equal with different constructions. I on the other hand am not.

In the example i put forth, whether it is "12 over 4" or "12 divided by 4", one is basically swapping words. They are the same structure or syntac as you call it. It would make no sense if what you are saying is true in this context. This would be like saying "the fluffy cat" versus "the puffy-haired cat"....same mean and both adjectives, just one is compound

#### 5jj

##### Moderator
Staff member
Can someone clarify this? can someone tell me then why these sites like posted above are calling "divided by" a preposiition if others believe it isnt?
I can't - but then I have never been a great fan of labelling. The more rigorous labelling systems attempt to become, the more arbitrary they seem to become at the edges. Granted that most labelling systems these days allow the phenomenom of 'multi-word prepositions', and granted that, in mathematical calculations, plus, minus, times, over, into are prepositions, then I see no real reason to be upset at the though of considering divided by and multiplied by to be prepositions.

It will come one day. I remember that when I was at school, anyone who considered in front of to be a preposition would have been burnt at the stake.

#### Tdol

##### Editor, UsingEnglish.com
Staff member
Can someone clarify this? can someone tell me then why these sites like posted above are calling "divided by" a preposiition if others believe it isnt? Thanks

Firstly, it's just one site. Anyone can publish anything on the internet, so the fact that something is there does not mean it is true. If no one else agrees, and you couldn't find anyone else who agreed, then it may well be inaccurate or incorrect. Also, there are many areas of language where there is disagreement. I would look at it as divided + by.

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