Is "worth" a preposition?

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Frank Antonson

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Ah! This is SO like the good old days!
 

Frank Antonson

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"Out of breath", in your example is acting adjectivally and answers the question "what kind of" about the pronoun "I".

What kind of I? -- an out of breath I.

If you look for the FUN in it and not the argument (although that IS part of the fun), it works.

Prepositional phrase acting as a predicate adjective.
 

corum

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arigt.gif


right beside and just over the bridge
 

Frank Antonson

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Yes, I agree with that, but it is a little more elegant to bring the preposition lines together first before they attach to their object.

Back in the 1950's there was a cigarette add that caught my attention -- and no doubt when on to hasten the death of many. It went something like "The smoke is filtered over, under, around, and through many tiny fibers.
 

Frank Antonson

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went on to hasten
 

corum

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Frank Antonson

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corum

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Time for me to :sleeping: :hi:
 

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I was thinking the same thing. But then it entered my mind why we call certain relative clauses adjectival clauses when the class of adjectives is clearly a formal category, one of the eight word classes. Adjective is a word class and (noun) modifier is a functional label I can attach to it. Ist es richtig?

This is a very good point. I think the traditional terminology (adjectival clauses etc.) is possibly mixing distributional and functional criteria to some extent.

Agreed. If 'worth' is an adjective, why is this sentence ungrammatical?

Training dogs is worth. :cross:

I can't think of another(?) adjective that requires a complement for the sentence it sits in to be grammatical. At the moment I am more inclined to treat 'worth' as a preposition.

It is worth they. :cross: -- nominative pronoun
It is worth them. :tick: -- accusative

I can think of just one such adjective, "fond". The PP complement is obligatory. But it is important that if adjectives have complements at all, they are PPs not NPs. (In English.)
 

orangutan

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RNR, yes! Thanks!



What is one of them?

The ones I had in mind were phrase structure grammar and categorial grammar. But there are many others.
 

Frank Antonson

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I would say that adjectives can take complements other than objects of prepositions.

Consider: I am short one dollar.

short.gif


I've never seen that done before, but I suppose if you can have an objective complement you might be able to have a predicate adjective complement.

But "I am a very foolish fond old man". (King Lear)
 

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I am woefully short.
I am 15 dollars short.
I am short 15 dollars.

Adverbial objective.
 

corum

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But it is important that if adjectives have complements at all, they are PPs not NPs. (In English.)

What I can infer from your sentence is that you regard in

It is impossible that he won the gold medal.,

the string of words in bold as an extraposed subject, which is not an adjective complement. Right?

--------
It is impossible that he won the gold medal.
I am short 15 dollars.

The two sentences have different structures.
 

Frank Antonson

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"I am short (by) a dollar". "I am (by) a dollar short".

I suppose they could be considered elliptical PPs.
 

konungursvia

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An interesting discussion, but is there any room here for the idea that natural languages can only be diagrammed, axiomatized and labelled with sticky-notes to a finite degree?

The whole enterprise of analytical linguistics, it seems to me, is founded on an unstated Platonic idealism: There are perfect Ideas (forms, structures), and every utterance is an efficient manifestation of them; it's just a question of finding which Ideas, those perfectly logical building blocks, has been used.

I was thinking that perhaps language is a structurally (as well as lexically) heterogeneous set of communicative strategies shared by a community -- things don't always need to 'add up' to make sense.
 

Frank Antonson

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I think I follow you, and I think I agree.

But, I find it interesting and amazing that such a fairly limited set of (Platonic) ideals can cover such a wide range of communication -- at least when you limit it to the written words themselves without their actual oral delivery.

Chomsky comes to mind. But I have found his work, to the extent that I have looked at it, not very user-friendly. This is one of the reasons that I am interested in the syntax of other languages besides English IF that syntax can be simply and understandably analysed. I think Reed-Kellogg does that.
 

konungursvia

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It works amazingly well, I agree. I just don`t expect it always works. Animals don`t study zoology, and languages don`t study linguistics.... so they sometimes just don`t fit into pidgeon-holes.
 
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