Particular prepositions

Of

The preposition "of" is almost always non-meaningful. Its complement is obligatory (either a NP or a VPing). Of-PPs are predominantly complements of nouns, verbs and adjectives.

Complement of noun

Of-PPs are the default complements for nouns. This is particularly clear for deverbal nouns (aka. "nominalisations"), where the deep subject or direct object is realised as either a genitive determiner or an of-PP complement:

  • the emperor died - the death of the emperor - the emperor's death
  • they assassinated the emperor - the assassination of the emperor - the emperor's assassination
Of-PPs also realise complements of other nouns (only some of which can be expressed as genitive determiners):
  • the house of her former husband - her former husband's house
  • the son-in-law of Dick Brown - Dick Brown's son-in-law
  • the majority of the students - *the student's majority
  • a glass of water - *water's glass

Guideline - where an of-PP X is the complement of a noun N which is derived from some verb V, and the role played by X is equivalent to the subject or object NP of V, then there should be a dependency from N to the head of X's NP complement, labelled 'subject' or 'object' respectively. Where an of-PP X is the complement of a non-deverbal noun N, then there should be a dependency from N to the head of X's NP complement, labelled 'of'. [Note: special treatment probably needs to be made for measure phrases, e.g. "the majority of X", "a glass of X"].

[List of deverbal nouns? List of measure phrases with "of"?]

Complement of adjective

Of-PPs are the default complements for adjectives:

  • I feel ashamed of myself
  • They seem bereft of ideas
  • She is convinced of his guilt (deverbal?)
  • It if full of water
  • It is good of you to help
  • We're short of money

Where an of-PP X is the complement of an adjective, then there should be a dependency from A to the head of X's NP complement, labelled 'of'.

-- MarkMcConville - 11 Sep 2008

Topic revision: r1 - 11 Sep 2008 - 14:05:45 - MarkMcConville
 
This site is powered by the TWiki collaboration platformCopyright © by the contributing authors. All material on this collaboration platform is the property of the contributing authors.
Ideas, requests, problems regarding TWiki? Send feedback
This Wiki uses Cookies