The Preposition Phrase (PP)
The distribution of the preposition phrase
A PP can occur in the following diagnostic environments:
- Chris put the book __.
- The squirrel ran straight/right __.
- inside an NP, following the noun, i.e. in [NP: ... N __]: The book
A PP can often be substituted with an adverbial pro-form there, then.
In a constituent question test for a PP, the question starts with where, how, why, ...
The internal structure of the preposition phrase
- A PP must contain
- a preposition (in, from, in spite of, by, ...)
- a major phrase following the preposition, usually an NP (from [NP: Canada], to [NP: Kim]), but other phrases are also possible (from [PP: inside the building]).
- A PP may contain
- a degree word preceding the preposition ( across the street)
If the preposition is used as a case marking preposition, i.e. as semantically vacuous, then the PP may not contain a degree word.
- Kim put the book [PP: into the shelf]
- Kim gave the book [PP: to Sandy]
*Kim gave the book [PP: to Sandy]
_PP_ / \ / _NP_ P / \ | /______\ about the matchExample 2: A PP with a degree word and an NP
___PP____ / | \ / | _NP_ Adv P / \ | | /______\ right from the start