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    The Prepositional Phrase Head in English Grammar

    The Prepositional Phrase Head in English Grammar

    Prepositional phrase heads are words that function as the heads of prepositional phrases. A prepositional phrase consists of a preposition plus another word, phrase, or clause functioning as a prepositional complement. Only one grammatical form can perform the function of prepositional phrase head in the English language. The one grammatical form that can function as the prepositional phrase head is:

    • Prepositions

    The following section defines and exemplifies the only grammatical form that can function as the prepositional phrase head in English grammar.

    Prepositions as Prepositional Phrase Heads

    The only grammatical form that performs the grammatical function of prepositional phrase head is the preposition. Traditional grammars notionally define prepositions as words that “link to other words, phrases, and clauses” and that “express spatial or temporal relations.” For example, the following italicized prepositions function as prepositional phrase heads:

    • during the long winter
    • among the blackberry bushes
    • in the nick of time
    • come January
    • without prior approval
    • about that she wants to travel overseas
    • to the beating of the drums
    • in spite of our differences

    The only grammatical form that can function as the prepositional phrase head in the English language is the preposition.

    Summary

    Prepositional phrase heads are words that function as the heads of prepositional phrases. A prepositional phrase consists of a preposition plus another word, phrase, or clause functioning as a prepositional complement.

    Prepositional phrase head is a grammatical function.

    The grammatical form that can function as the prepositional phrase head in English grammar is the preposition.

    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.

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