Preposition: syntactic functions

July 14th, 20125:35 am


Preposition: syntactic functions

The most controversial opinions are expressed in connection with the syntactic status of prepositions. This issue has caused clashes between the opposing interpretations. Some linguists argue that the preposition is func­tionally equal to the morpheme rather than to a word, since it stands to mark case relations. Other scholars believe that the preposition may not be equivalent of the morpheme. This claim is based on two objections: first of all, the preposition, contrary to auxiliary words in analytical forms, has a specific lexical meaning; secondly, the grammatical category of case should correlate with the means of its expression, therefore, if the preposition is a means of expressing this category, English should differentiate as many cases as there are prepositions.

Alongside of these arguments, many grammarians, granting preposi­tions the word-status, agree that the preposition is a functional word that connects words in a word combination but does not equal them.

Other linguists state that the preposition forms a word combination with a noun that depends on the preposition. One cannot but agree with this state­ment, but one should not at the same time forget that the preposition also depends on the noun, it cannot exist without the noun. Besides, it should be born in mind that the preposition, when introducing a noun, indicates its function in relation to the left word, which is actually the head member of the word combination. Thus, the preposition by its nature is controversial: formally, it dominates the noun introduced; functionally, the preposition is a means of connection of this noun with the left component of the sentence.