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Syntactic Theory


  • Particles usually have the same form as prepositions
  • Examples: call sth. off, look sth. up
  • characteristics:
    • Particles combine with certain verbs to form non-predictable and mainly idiomatic particle verbs.
    • They contrast from prepositions in that they are more flexible:
      • 'V Part NP' and 'V NP Part' are both possible (The umpire called off the game., The umpire called the game off)
        For prepositions, only 'V P NP' is possible (The teacher fell off the chair, *The teacher fell the chair off.)
      • When the NP is a pronoun, only 'V Pron Part' is possible (The umpire called it off/ *off it.). This ordering is excluded for prepositions (*'V Pron P', *The teacher fell it off.)

Categories: Glossary