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The Postpositional Complement in English Grammar

The Postpositional Complement in English Grammar

Postpositional complements are defined as the word, phrase, or clause that directly precedes the postposition and completes the meaning of the postpositional phrase. Postpositional complements are also called objects of postpositions and complements of postpositions. Only one grammatical form can function as the postpositional complement in English grammar: noun phrases. Postpositions are less common than prepositions in English. The following section defines and exemplifies the one grammatical form that can function as the postpositional complement in the English language.

Noun Phrases as Postpositional Complements

The only grammatical form that can perform the grammatical function of postpositional complement is the noun phrase. Noun phrases are defined as phrases formed by a noun or pronoun plus any determinatives, modifiers, and complements including determiners, adjectives, prepositions, and verbs. For example, the following italicized noun phrases function as postpositional complements:

  • The storm happened six years ago.
  • Twenty years ago my parents vacationed in Venice.
  • He and his best friend live only two blocks apart.
  • My aunt and her mother live seven wild miles apart.
  • The baby cried the whole night through.
  • He will invest in the company, financial limitations notwithstanding.

The only grammatical form that can function as the postpositional complement of postpositional phrases in the English language is the noun phrase.

Summary

Postpositional complements in English grammar are words, phrases, and clauses that directly follow a postposition and complete the meaning of the postpositional phrase.

Postpositional complement is a grammatical function.

The grammatical form that can function as the postpositional complement in English grammar is the noun phrase.

Postpositional complements are also called complements of postpositions and objects of postpositions.

References

Brinton, Laurel J. & Donna M. Brinton. 2010. The linguistic structure of Modern English, 2nd edn. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company.
Hopper, Paul J. 1999. A short course in grammar. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.
Huddleston, Rodney. 1984. Introduction to the grammar of English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
O’Dwyer, Bernard T. 2000. Modern English structures: Form, function, and position. Peterborough, Ontario: Broadview Press.

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