Talk:Preposition and postposition

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please simplify[edit]

Given what is said below - please dumb this down - I thought this page was excellent. If you want to know what a preposition is, use a dictionary. If you are an English only speaker, then you shouldnt be accessing a linguistics page. I thought the profusion of examples very useful. well done whoever wrote the articles — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:21, 23 January 2014 (UTC)[]

Who is all this written for? I'm sorry, I don't mean to be impertinent, but it seems wanky. Written for grammarians, those who already know. If I knew just a little about grammar, and tried, just tried to read this article, I wouldn't get past the first sentence or two, and I would be very confused, and think grammar is hard. Leave it all in, I don't care, but can someone simplify at least the opening paragraph? Thank you. (talk) 04:42, 8 April 2013 (UTC) Well, if anyone is noticing, the average reader would have to look up at least 6 words in the first two sentences, to understand anything, and maybe not even then. The article is unnecessarily complicated, and written by professional grammarians for professional grammarians. Outside of that clique, no one in the English-speaking world uses words like "adposition." I'm sorry. It's be better to say, "Prepositions were used in Latin to precede a phrase. However, English doesn't come from Latin, despite attempts to make it seem so. So prepositions as words can come at the beginning or the end of their phrases." (talk) 00:59, 11 April 2013 (UTC)[]

I re-wrote the first two paragraphs, removing adverbs and technical words. It is readable...:

Prepositions are a class of words which express spatial or temporal relationship (such as the English words in, under, toward, before) or mark syntactic or semantic functions (such as the English words of, for).[1] The primary function of prepositions, shows relationships, and so a preposition typically combines with another word or phrase (called its complement {"complement" means to complete, as the word or phrase completes the meaning of the preposition}) to form a prepositional phrase. It is said that anything you can do to a Haystack is a prepositional phrase. Ex. You can go: under a haystack so under the bus is a prepositional phrase. Ex2. One can go around a haystack, walk through a haystack, sit on a haystack etc. the prepositional phrases in the last three are around a haystack, through a haystack, on a haystack.

The word "preposition" comes from Latin, a language in which such a word is usually placed before its complement. (Thus it is pre-positioned.) Since many Latin words have entered English -- which comes from German -- since the Age of Science, some grammarians suggest that prepositions in English should also come before their complements. However, in English, prepositions do not need to precede their complements. In many languages (e.g. Urdu, Turkish, Hindi, Korean and Japanese), the words with this grammatical function come after, not before, the complement. Some grammarians call these relationship words, "postpositions". Similarly, "circumpositions" consist of two parts that appear on both sides of the complement. The technical term used to refer collectively to prepositions, postpositions, and circumpositions is "adposition". Some linguists use the word "preposition" instead of "adposition" for all three cases.[2] (talk) 03:23, 22 April 2013 (UTC)[]

Well, I realized, what with pre-, post-, and circum- why isn't there mention of an "adposition" in the middle of the phrase? I've been reading the material posted here on the talk page in 2007, regarding this topic: how inaccessible this article is. Sure, there's the "Simple Wikipedia" or some such name, but I'd never heard of it, and I still wonder: Just who is this article written for? For whom is this article written? Who for is this article written? (centraposition) lol. Professional grammarians. Maybe they're nerds, and this is not Nerdipedia or Wikinerdia or whatever. (talk) 16:07, 7 May 2013 (UTC) Okay, I have another variation of preposition: The vaca-position. It's an omitted word... The written article... whom? You get the idea. I'm not pushing it too hard. But now we have 5 variations. You know what? In Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (ZAMM), Pirsig says that if you can come up with two variations, then there can be an unlimited number. Here's #6, 7 and 8: It's like the circum- but both are placed in various places, before with mid, both mid, and mid with after. Here's my favorite: What if it was more than two words? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:20, 10 May 2013 (UTC) Okay, something like "What are you talking about up over around in there?" (talk) 02:55, 14 May 2013 (UTC)[]

Winston Churchill Story[edit]

What Churchill actually said was, "This is the sort of bloody nonsense up with which I will not put."

He had written a piece in which he ended a sentence with a preposition. A very foolish editor changed it to be grammatically correct, thereby rendering Churchill's words in non-Churchill form.

One did not change Winston Churchill's sentences - at least not more than once (and even then, you might not have lived to tell the tale).

Anyway, that bit of the article should be corrected since it completely misquotes Churchill, and what it says has nothing to do with what he was saying. (talk) 04:45, 14 January 2013 (UTC)[]

For the benefit of anyone idly skimreading this talk page: No it is not what Churchill actually said: please see Benjamin Zimmer, "Churchill vs editorial nonsense", Language Log, 27 November 2005. And even if he had said it, it would be pretty silly: please see Geoffrey K. Pullum, "A Churchill story up with which I will no longer put", Language Log, 8 December 2004. -- Hoary (talk) 13:19, 23 October 2018 (UTC)[]


If you wish to participate in older discussions, please copy and paste the thread here.

I made the merger of postposition and preposition. I removed duplicate information and the very drawn-out and to me misplaced discussion about normative usage of English, including quotes from Churchill and Bishop. I don't feel that this very specific English prescriptivist material is relevant in an encyclopedic article about a general feature of grammar in any language.

Peter Isotalo 05:16, 27 December 2005 (UTC)[]

"all FAKE"[edit]

This preposition page is all FAKE. Only 3 or 4 on this list are actually prepositions. I was doing this in school, and looking at this page because I forgot my book and I got every single one wrong thanks to you bozos.

JM 2010 —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:13, 22 September 2010 (UTC)[]

Formatting Issue[edit]

Just a minor point but it seems confusing that in the first section with multiple examples of prepositions, the bold typeface implies that those words are the prepositions when in fact they are not. Do you think this could be changed, perhaps putting the prepositions themselves in bold type. ThomDoughty (talk) 10:55, 7 March 2008 (UTC)[]


Circumposition redirects here, but this article says nothing about circumpositions. I can only imagine that they must be two-part adpositions, with part before and part after: such as of __'s, perhaps? Someone care to add information on them? Ruakh 06:33, 7 January 2006 (UTC)[]

Actually, there is as far as I know no such thing as a circumposition in grammar and I can't find it in any of my general linguistic literature. The examples given in the original article were in German and Pushtu (Pashto?). The German example used was of a verb (fahren) with a verb particle (herum) combined with a preposition (um), which isn't the least bit relevant. I can't comment the Pushtu example, but I would like some confirmation from good sources.
Peter Isotalo 12:27, 7 January 2006 (UTC)[]
Interesting. The term gets 666 Google hits, of which about a third seem to be linguistic, of which most seem to be about a kind of adposition. So, I guess there are probably about 200 relevant Google hits. This one suggests that circumpositions exist in Kurdish, but a Google-search for circumposition+Kurdish doesn't seem to pull up too much of worth.
So, I think maybe the article should just mention what "circumposition" is supposed to mean, and mention that it's much less common than pre- and postpositions, without giving any examples? Ruakh 21:43, 7 January 2006 (UTC)[]
The Kurdish example seems to be questioned by some of the reviewers in the link. If it's to be included, I think it should have stronger support than something refered to by a third party (with good arguments) as "a relic of Kurdish linguistics".
Peter Isotalo 08:56, 8 January 2006 (UTC)[]
My interpretation is thus: the third party is saying that Selcan is making a mistake in applying the term "circumposition" (or its German equivalent) to structures in the Zazaki language. He's further inferring that the reason Selcan makes this mistake is that circumpositions are known to exist in Kurdish (a distinct, but neighboring and not-traditionally-recognized-as-distinct, language - at least, according to that page), and hence applying "circumposition" to Zazaki is "a relic of Kurdish linguistics." Still not the best reference ever, though . . . Ruakh 03:03, 10 January 2006 (UTC)[]
Circumpositions are actually extremely common in Kurdish no matter whether one considers Zazaki a dialect of Kurdish or not. Here are some examples in Northern Kurdish (Kurmanji) (also found in the Kurdish Wiktionary or "Wîkîferheng"):
bi ... re ("with")
di ... de ("in", for things, not places)
di ... re ("via, through")
ji ... re ("for")
ji ... ve ("since") — Preceding unsigned comment added by Ferhengvan (talkcontribs) 06:27, 17 April 2013 (UTC)[]


I am working on a substantial overhaul of this article, which at the moment contains some inaccuracies. Before I totally hijack the page, the current draft is visible in my userspace. CapnPrep 20:54, 17 September 2006 (UTC)[]

Done. Revert as necessary. CapnPrep 21:04, 21 September 2006 (UTC)[]

Page too smart for its own good[edit]

This page is too smart for its own good. For the linguist, the extra information I'm sure is nice, but when all I want is a simple-language definition for Preposition I don't want to have to learn new words. (This was the third site I went to.) Sorry, I'm not logged in and don't know how to insert my reference, but here's this - 2006, October, 20, 9:07 EST. And I'm either Colonel Kernel or Bill.

Have you tried the Wiktionary entry for preposition? --BrettR 15:34, 5 November 2006 (UTC)[]
I hadn't, no. But to contradict my above comment, I guess I wanted more than a simple definition. I wanted something inbetween, which now makes me wonder where dictionaries end and encyclopedias begin. Regardless, one should lead into the other. I went backwards.
But still, as as an open, general encyclopedia, it should be open to all, by starting general, assuming ZERO knowledge of the specific topic or related topics. THEN, the technical stuff could and should follow for those who want it. It's much easier for knowledgeable people to skip over general information than vice-versa.
- ColonelKernel 02:58, 29 January 2007 (UTC)[]
The Colonel is absolutely right. This page is more or less unreadable by now. After it was merged from the articles postposition and preposition, it was fairly short, but still had a reasonable amount of detail.[1] The article as it stands is a messy concoction and a mix of high and low as well as outright falsehoods or dubious claims. It seems that a lot of verb particles are included in the definition and there are what appears to be spurious claims of circumpositions in several European languages. Someone even tried to provide examples in both Chinese and Japanese without actually knowing enough about the languages and in the process managed to produce incorrect sentences.
I'm very tempted to revert it all to one of the shorter and simpler versions, keep some of the sources and dump the current version in a sub-page where all the hobby linguists can tinker around with excessive details until they manage to produce something that is actually readable to most audiences.
Peter Isotalo 12:24, 3 March 2007 (UTC)[]

Strongly agree. This page is now written for an extremely narrowly focused specialist -- not the goal of Wikipedia. I would also vote for reinstating the very interesting discussion of ending sentences with prepositions that previously existed on this page. there was even an excellent poem on the subject -- useful material that makes this encyclopedia especially useful and user-friendly. If that material doesn't belong here (in this hypertechnical discussion of linguistic minutia) then maybe it should be on a new page, and this one can sink into the technocratic oblivion that it deserves. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 13:12, 5 July 2007 (UTC).[]

Would propose recreating the prepositions page, and keeping this page as it is to provide technical linguistic information. Both are valid pages but neither suffices to cover the issues.

--Falstaf 00:40, 14 July 2007 (UTC)[]

This page isn't comical or unreadable, it's just too technical. Norms are problematic, and the debate between the descriptivists and the prescriptivists could go on all day: there are obviously some strong partisan feelings and large egos involved on both sides. However, native speakers of English who aren't trained in linguistics shouldn't have to go to the Simple English Wikipedia page to find a description they can understand of a phenomenon that occurs all the time in their own language. The page as it is right now should be titled "Adpositions (linguistics)," and a separate page that talks about prepositions in English should be created. Maybe said page could have a short, relevant section on prescriptive vs. descriptive usage to placate the grammar politicians, who obviously have an axe to grind. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Cthulhu123 (talkcontribs) 00:32, 8 August 2008 (UTC)[]

Why the cleanup tag?[edit]

It's not at all obvious to me that this article is in need of cleanup, so please explain here why you feel that it is. —RuakhTALK 15:50, 26 January 2007 (UTC)[]

This page is comically wordy and inaccessible. It does require cleanup. Preposition redirects here? 15:47, 1 February 2007 (UTC)[]

AB:-I feel like my head is going to explode. I've always found grammar inaccessible. The writer of this article has obviously devoted considerable amounts of time and effort, for which I am grateful. But I find myself so envious that I cannot access your knowledge. The referenced technical terms fly at me like bullets from a howitzer. Please do not take this personally. Your attempt is valient, and I am yet to find a book on grammar that doesn't leave me feeling bewildered. Examples, lots of examples help. And trying to minimize the use of other technical terms, or introducing them in a graded fassion. Assume that you are attempting to teach at stroke victem. I am not the smartest man in the world...but I am your audience, I want to possess the information you offer me, I want the benefit of your knowledge.

Thankyou for your endeavours and goodluck. I look forward to reading your reviewed article.



I came across this article looking for information on the common prohibition against ending sentences with a preposition, but this article just perplexed me. Having completed several courses on technical writing and editing, even I'm having trouble understanding this article. People who are less familiar with grammar are going to throw up their hands and leave. This article is too inaccessible to non-linguistics majors. blahpers 16:37, 26 February 2007 (UTC)[]

I feel exactly the same way, and I am a relatively learned person. Honestly, this article looks like it was run through one of those computer filters that complicates the text to the point of absurdity. Cernansky 01:31, 9 March 2007 (UTC)[]

  • For both of you, the "Simple English" Wikipedia ( has a much shorter article about prepositions.  I think you'll find the "Simple English" article will be quite adequate for your requirements.  K. Kellogg-Smith 03:05, 11 June 2007 (UTC)[]
Thanks for your condescending pretentiousness. However, your suggestion addresses neither of the issues raised. Clarityfiend 07:10, 25 June 2007 (UTC)[]

I read this Wiki with a great deal of consternation, so much so that I decided to have a look at the talk page. I was further compelled to sign-up for an account so I could throw my two cents worth into the pile. This article needs to be cleaned up, simplified, and likely have the reference to other languages removed. This is the English Wiki and as such should probably stick to the English language, reserving the other languages for the appropriate Wiki. I am not the smartest person on the block, but would like to think I could read some simple information, however, there's nothing simple or informative about this page. Thank you. Maxthrust 19:35, 3 July 2007 (UTC)[]

The English Wikipedia is in English, but it's certainly not just about English, and that's certainly not the intent. —RuakhTALK 20:08, 3 July 2007 (UTC)[]
I agree with the people who have problems with this page. While "preposition" (which I feel should have its own entry) does not have to include only English uses of this part of speech, the article should serve people who want to read a basic definition of prepositions. I thought that Wikipedia--or at least an entry's main page--was supposed to provide basic information, not serve as a vehicle for extremely technical discussions (surely there are plenty of places on the Internet to do that!). Look at the following sentence:
The surface position of an adposition with respect to its complement allows us to define the following subclasses.
Now imagine that you are a person who is likely to look up "preposition" on Wikipedia. Would you find that helpful, or would you run? Phwtw 18:07, 23 August 2007 (UTC)[]


Adpositions are non-inflecting (or "invariant"); i.e., they do not have paradigms of forms (for different tenses, cases, genders, etc.) in the same way as verbs, adjectives, and nouns in the same language.

a reference somewhere to the Celtic languages by someone more knowledgeable than me would be helpful... --Explendido Rocha 09:02, 12 July 2007 (UTC)[]
Yeah, it's also not completely true for the Semitic languages such as Hebrew, where personal pronouns are not used with prepositions; instead, the prepositions are inflected for gender, person, and number. (N.B. The prepositions don't agree with their objects; if their object is a normal noun or pronoun, then they just attach to it. Rather, it's only that if their object is a personal pronoun, then they inflect to contain it.) —RuakhTALK 15:35, 12 July 2007 (UTC)[]

Position of prepositions[edit]

The article says "A preposition precedes its complement to form a prepositional phrase", but several of the examples of prepositions in the intro ("The following examples illustrate some uses of English prepositions") seem to contradict this. For example:

  • modifying verbs
    • sleep throughout the winter

where "throughout" comes after the verb it modifies.

  • complementing adjectives and adverbs
    • attentive to their needs

where "to" comes after the adjective it modifies.

Is there something wrong here, or am I just getting confused? Matt 19:37, 12 July 2007 (UTC).

The description is correct. In the former case, the preposition ("throughout") precedes its complement ("the winter"), producing a prepositional phrase ("throughout the winter") that follows and modifies a verb ("sleep"). In the latter case, the preposition ("to") precedes its complement ("their needs"), producing a prepositional phrase ("to their needs") that follows and modifies an adjective ("attentive"). Does that make sense? —RuakhTALK 20:48, 12 July 2007 (UTC)[]
Yes, thanks. I never would have got that from the article. To me it's natural to assume that the thing called the "complement" in "a preposition precedes its complement" is meant to be the verb in the "modifying verbs" examples, and the adjective or adverb in the "complementing adjectives and adverbs" examples. All the more so in the latter case since the same word ("complement") is used. I am not confident about making any changes, but if you understand what I'm getting at and feel so inclined, I think a couple of words of clarification would help. Matt 21:00, 12 July 2007 (UTC).
In the latter example, "to their needs" is the complement of "attentive", not the other way around; but I see how it could be confusing. I'll see about rewriting a bit to be more clear. —RuakhTALK 21:13, 12 July 2007 (UTC)[]
In standard English, the word complement expresses a mutual relationship: if two things are complementary, the one is the complement of the other and vice versa. So in the case of the verb "dispense with", the word "dispense" and the word "with" are complementary parts that together form a single semantic unit. Neither the word "dispense" nor the word "with", in isolation, carries the same meaning, but they complement one another. --Jonadab, 2007 Dec 29 —Preceding comment was added at 17:15, 29 December 2007 (UTC)[]
You seem to be using the word complement to mean the object of the preposition, but in the context of grammar the word complement normally has a different meaning. Indeed, it is used in this article with the other meaning. I would say that also using the same word to mean the object, especially when discussing relative positions, given that depending on language the relative positions of the object and the complement may be reversed from their positions in English, has the potential to be more than a little confusing, especially to a non-linguist. IMO it would be significantly preferable to use distinct terminology. --Jonadab, 2007 Dec 29
You are right. English "prepositions" are in fact adpositions. It's just tradition to call them prepositions. The previous answers are wrong, it can't be really decided whether they belong to the verb or to the noun.-- (talk) 13:29, 29 March 2010 (UTC)[]

Removal of cleanup banner[edit]

As I understand it, the cleanup banner applies to articles with bad grammar, spelling, punctuation and/or organisation -- basically articles that are sloppily written. This article certainly is not sloppily written, so the banner is not warranted and I have removed it. From the comments above, it seems that the main complaint may be that the article is too technical and is inaccessible to the non-expert. In that case the {{technical}} banner might be more appropriate. Matt 20:07, 12 July 2007 (UTC).


I chanced upon the article, and liked it a lot. It seems to me to contain a great deal of useful information. I gather, however, that some people find it "hard".

I would like to suggest moving the article to Preposition, by far the most common word for these beasties, and beginning something like this (slow onramp to the tougher bits):

A preposition is a part of speech that introduces a dependent clause. For example, in the sentence "I sleep until the alarm goes off.", "I" is the subject, "sleep" is the verb, and "until" is a preposition, introducing the dependent clause "until the alarm goes off". Common examples of prepositions include "by", "for", and "to".

Linguists sometimes distinguish between a "preposition", which preceeds a dependent clause, a "postposition", which follows a dependent clause, and as a rare case a "circumposition", which surrounds a dependent clause. Taken together, these three parts of speech are called "adpositions". Rick Norwood 15:03, 10 October 2007 (UTC)[]

I would like to hear some thoughts on the move suggested above, though silence implies consent. I also have a question. In the sentence "This is the store I go to." is "to" a postposition? Rick Norwood 14:26, 11 October 2007 (UTC)[]

In my case, my silence implies that I really don't know whether that's a good idea; I can't decide. And no, to is a preposition, even in your example sentence; however, it's a stranded preposition. —RuakhTALK 14:38, 11 October 2007 (UTC)[]
Hearing no objections, I'm going to make the changes discussed above. Rick Norwood 17:24, 18 October 2007 (UTC)[]
  • There needs to be a general article on adpositions, and if there is enough material on all three types separate articles on the three types. I'm am skeptical that there is enough material for all 4; should be one article, at Adposition with redirs from the 3 others to it. — SMcCandlish [talk] [cont] ‹(-¿-)› 00:56, 19 October 2007 (UTC)[]

Postposition examples[edit]

The "-on" in the Hungarian word "asztalon", given as an example of a postposition, is a case suffix rather than a postposition (cf. the Finnish and Turkish examples under the heading "Case affixes" later in the article). I would have used "az asztal alatt" instead, but "under the table" wouldn't fit with the other examples, so I have deleted the Hungarian reference. Pecsorin 11:14, 16 October 2007 (UTC)[]

Is this sentence a good example of postposition in English ? "British are morons, present company excepted !" --Nemesis973 (talk) 14:39, 19 April 2010 (UTC)[]

Move back to Preposition?[edit]

I just came to this page for the first time, and find that the move to Adposition seems extremely ill-advised, especially as it was a cut-and-paste of existing articles. But instead of moving this article back to Preposition, perhaps we should start a new article there that avoids the faults of this one. My only hesitation is that this would divorce the page from its edit history, which is generally considered a fault in Wikipedia. Comments? Penetrating wisdom? -- Rob C. alias Alarob 14:30, 22 October 2007 (UTC)[]

Wikipedia should not argue with itself, and so I think this part of speech should have one article. I would like that article to be called "preposition" but can't do that without the help of an administrator, and none has come forward. So, I'm going to follow the suggestion above, and move it to "preposition and postposition". Maybe at some later date it can be changed to "preposition". Rick Norwood 21:34, 22 October 2007 (UTC)[]
No one came forward because its five days on RM hadn't finished. Since "preposition" is an inaccurate title for the merged articles, I don't plan to move it further. I suppose the compromise is the current title. Dekimasuよ! 05:49, 23 October 2007 (UTC)[]

And so it will probably remain, but the article itself notes that it is not uncommon for both prepositions and postpositions to be called prepositions. I had never heard of postpositions until I read the article. Rick Norwood 15:09, 23 October 2007 (UTC)[]

I completely missed the listing on WP:RM, but given the history of the pages involved, I'm surprised this was handled as an uncontroversial move. I don't see evidence of any consensus in the ensuing discussion, either. And now the page has been moved, but not in accordance with the original proposal! This is strange. CapnPrep 16:18, 23 October 2007 (UTC)[]
And so, now, thirteen years later, it is still strange. It may be that the person who insisted on the inclusion of the arcane "postpostion" (which the Wikipedia spellchecker does not even recognize as a word) has lost interest. If so, maybe we can now change the name of the article back to "Preposition". Rick Norwood (talk) 21:09, 30 January 2020 (UTC)[]

Prepositions modifying another prepositional phrase[edit]

According to my understanding, until would be a preposition in the sentence: I wasn't feeling sick until after dessert. Should we add modifying a prepositional phrase to the list of uses for English prepositions? Or am I not parsing that correctly?Joshuajohanson 18:59, 25 October 2007 (UTC)[]

That section is poorly written, but to put your example in its terms, "until after dessert" is modifying "wasn't feeling sick", so falls into the "modifying verbs" category. The "Classification by complement" section explains that prepositions can take prepositional phrases as complements. —RuakhTALK 19:42, 25 October 2007 (UTC)[]
O.K., I've rewritten that section to be more clear about what it's trying to say; what do you think? —RuakhTALK 20:15, 25 October 2007 (UTC)[]

Easy identification for prepositions[edit]

The cat ran _on_ the tree.

Any thing that fits the blank is a preposition —Preceding unsigned comment added by Abaac (talkcontribs) 15:00, 8 November 2007 (UTC)[]

So "of" is not a preposition? —RuakhTALK 18:18, 8 November 2007 (UTC)[]

that is kooky. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:01, 23 January 2008 (UTC)[]

Yes indeed, anything that fits the blank in The cat ran __at__ the tree. is a preposition (assuming the blank stands for a single word). This helps us generate prepositions but does nothing much to limit them. It also says nothing about of. (Logic 101!) So how about of? It too is a preposition, though in some analyses it's instead a case marker in many instances. -- Hoary (talk) 10:43, 2 April 2008 (UTC)[]


I'm sure out is a preposition, but I don't see it anywhere listed as an example. Not being a native English speaker, I don't know where to list it. Also, it might be a good idea to touch the subject of 'composite' preposition (as I call them), like 'from out of' (the rain). EdokterTalk 01:50, 6 March 2008 (UTC)[]

Out is in the List of English prepositions. And there is an example "from under the bed" in the Preposition and postposition#Classification by complement section. CapnPrep (talk) 10:38, 6 March 2008 (UTC)[]

"strict English" and its etiquette[edit]

I've removed the following from the first paragraph:

It is considered poor form in strict English to end a sentence with a preposition.

It's specifically about English, whereas the article is not. It's about a minor aspect of preposition stranding, which itself is rather unusual (common in English but not in many languages). It's more specifically about something called "strict English", a concept that's new to me. I presume that this means "formal English" or similar. All sorts of things are considered "poor form" about English, formal or otherwise, by this or that group of people: various self-appointed language experts derive livelihoods from propagating such shibboleths, but we don't have to take the Strunks and Whites of the world seriously in what is not an etiquette manual but an encyclopedia. This particular "rule" has a history of 336 years (see the Cambridge Grammar of the English Language, p.627, fn 11) but it's not part of the language. Arguably it nevertheless deserves a mention, but not in the first paragraph of an article about adpositions in general. (Popular misconceptions about English grammar, anyone?) -- Hoary (talk) 10:36, 2 April 2008 (UTC)[]

For the record, this is discussed in the Stranding section, Preposition stranding, Disputes in English grammar, and Hypercorrection. – kentyman (talk) 16:35, 10 May 2010 (UTC)[]

Confusing as can be...[edit]

Just curious, what is this article about? I was redirected from adposition, and yet the first part seems to be about prepositions, and then I go further, and all the information is about adpositions! I don't know why all this information is merged. Can we please have a page on Prepositions, one on Postpositions, and one on Adpositions? It seems that the 'everything on one page' technique has not done well for any of us. I just want more in depth language about a specific linguistic term, and so it is not necessary to tell me what a preposition is. And yet it seems people are getting directed to this page, hoping for that... and yet they don't come away satisfied either. Can't we just keep things straight forward? Preposition info on Preposition page... Adposition info on Adposition page? Thanks... (talk) 01:04, 13 January 2009 (UTC)[]

at the end of the sentence[edit]

Any entry about prepositions should include a mention of the widespread but inaccurate dictum that in English prepositions should never occur at the end of the sentence. This bit of misinformation is so widespread that even some educators have repeated it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:09, 7 September 2010 (UTC)[]

It may be worth a reference to the article Prepositions at End in Henry Watson Fowler's A Dictionary of Modern English Usage, considered by many to be the definitive style guide to the English language. In that, he calls the view that (English) prepositions must be placed before the word they govern, "a cherished superstition", and describes the English instinct for putting them late as "incurable". This article is a considerable rant against this superstition, and provides a counterblast against Dryden and Gibbon's "deliberate Latinism". He states that "almost all our great writer have allowed themselves to end a sentence or a clause with a preposition", and gives a significant number of examples from such as Bacon, Cowper, Ruskin, Chaucer, Spenser, Shakspere [sic], Jonson, the King James, Milton, Pepys, Swift, Defoe, Thackeray, and Kipling. He peaks with the statement that "The legitimacy of the prepositional ending in literary English must be uncompromisingly maintained; in respect of elegance or inelegance, every example must be judged not by any arbitrary rule, but on its own merits, according to the impression it makes on the feeling of educated English readers."
Another reference to late prepositions in English comes from The Oxford Guide to English Usage (Weiner and Delahunty: 1983-94), which, while less confrontational, is also clear that late prepositions are natural in English and even gives examples of where, according to it, prepositions cannot be moved to an earlier place: What did you do that for? What a mess this room is in!, etc. Further The Oxford Dictionary of English Grammar (Chalker & Weiner: 1994-8) states "There was at one time considerable prejudice against putting a preposition later than the word it belongs to (!).", and explains the origin of this prejudice in Latin grammar.
As a result, I would suggest that a section on the use of prepositions in English is merited, and that this should, at least, discuss the positions avowed by Fowler et al.

Graham Fountain 15:27, 9 December 2010 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Graham.Fountain (talkcontribs)

I added a bit on this in the lede and Wikilinked to List of common English usage misconceptions which goes into some more detail. --Airborne84 (talk) 03:51, 30 May 2011 (UTC)[]


This article looks very much like a more formal article on adpositions has simply been tacked onto the end of a less formal article on prepositions without any attempt to integrate them. As an introduction, the part before the contents goes beyond the brief introduction required with multiple examples and asides about Churchill. The part after the contents is written as if the subject of the article is adpositions. The Definition defines adposition but neither preposition or postposition which are the supposed topics of the article. HisRuntyDogma (talk) 15:03, 12 August 2011 (UTC)[]

Korean language page seemed lost, so I found it[edit]

Or at least a similar idea. Postpositions, in common Korean, are referred to as 조사 and as 후치사, I believe, in linguistics terms?

Anyway, here is the page. (talk) 08:14, 21 February 2012 (UTC)[]

French prepositions for countries[edit]

French prepositions for countries depend on their grammatical gender, for example en France (la France, f), but au Canada (le Canada, m). Should this be mentioned in the article next to the Inflected prepositions? Bead-v (talk) 12:03, 11 June 2012 (UTC)[]

is "to" the new universal preposition?[edit]

The fact that the page is unreadable may be the least of its issues: it may soon become irrelevant as people increasingly substitute the word "to" for other prepositions.1canuckbuck (talk) 20:03, 17 August 2013 (UTC)— Preceding unsigned comment added by 1canuckbuck (talkcontribs) 07:17, 3 August 2013 (UTC)[]

Preposition and postposition[edit]

all wikis, except of three have two different articles. Is it better to split into two articles? Interwiki will work much better. --Olga@ 23:08, 28 August 2013 (UTC)[]


Is it too soon to note the recent shift in American English to the use of "because" as a preposition? Kendall-K1 (talk) 14:41, 12 December 2013 (UTC)[]

Split or merge, and title of article[edit]

What on earth has gone on here? A couple of weeks ago there was a perfectly sensible arrangement with one article with the accessible title Preposition and postposition. Now we unnecessarily have three different articles (and not very good ones) on what is effectively the same thing. Can it go back to how it was? W. P. Uzer (talk) 22:14, 25 December 2014 (UTC)[]

I moved this page back to its long-standing title. I plan to redirect the other two titles back to here too. If someone disagrees, please discuss. I see no need to have separate pages on three terms that represent almost the same concept; and I think the title of the combined page should certainly include (or simply be) the vastly most recognizable term "preposition". W. P. Uzer (talk) 19:35, 28 December 2014 (UTC)[]
Every other Wikipedia language has the article called "adposition" (wikidata:Q134316), which is the technical term. "Preposition and postposition" was some arbitrary decision made by a single user a long time ago, before English Wikipedia had the good coverage of linguistics topics that it does now. This title leaves out "circumposition" for no justifiable reason. In addition, many Wikipedia languages have separate articles on each type of adposition. They are sufficiently distinct as to be able maintain separate articles, given the appropriate love. I strongly suggest that this page be moved back to adposition. Gordon P. Hemsley 13:05, 29 December 2014 (UTC)[]
I really don't see any reason to have separate articles - almost everything we say about one type of adposition will apply to all of the others, modulo changes in word order. We will just be duplicating effort and making things more confusing for readers who would like to read about the topic as a whole. As to the title of the combined article, my impression is that "adposition" is a little-known technical term, whereas "preposition" (and to a lesser extent "postposition") is well-known across a broad population of readers. We aim to have recognizable titles - any title that excludes the word "preposition" is automatically going to lose most of the available recognizability. Circumpositions are a marginal curiosity that needn't be worried too much about (and in any case can be argued to be covered by the current title). I'd be happy to call the page simply "Preposition"; the article already states that some linguists use that term to cover all types of adposition. W. P. Uzer (talk) 09:59, 30 December 2014 (UTC)[]

A confused article and linguistically not very sound[edit]

This article takes the position that 'prepositions' and 'postpositions' are somehow comparable. I would suggest that this is linguistically unsound, or at least a simplification. I know it looks neat to compare postpositions in Japanese with prepositions in English. It looks so symmetrical. But such facile interlinguistic comparisons are perilous. Japanese postpositions could also be compared to case endings. 'Ni', or instance, could be equated to a dative. Where Japanese uses watashi ni, English uses (to) me, German mir, and Mongolian nadad. The main difference between Japanese postpositions and case endings is freedom of attachment, but this is not a very good criterion for putting postpositions with prepositions. (Indeed, Japanese postpositions are treated at Grammatical_case#Japanese.)

One big difference between Japanese postpositions and English prepositions is that Japanese postpositions don't clearly indicate spatial relationships. Where English says on the table, Japanese usually resorts to tēburu no ue ni ('at top of table'), where ue ('on, on top of') indicates position.

In fact, this semantic function of indicating spatial relations with prepositions is a peculiar property of English and closely related languages. Prepositions not only indicate relationships (similar to those indicated by cases); they also have a strong semantic component that helps account for the diverse range of functions that these forms have (see use of 'up' or 'in' as prepositions, adverbs, particles, etc., a range of functions that is highly confusing for foreign learners of English).

I suggest that this article should be written to cover only prepositions in European languages like English, German, etc., and play down claims suggesting the universality of a part of speech called 'adpositions'. The main source given is Huddleston and Pullum, which is a grammar of English, not Japanese. The World Atlas of Language Structures does treat adpositions together, but this is not the only place where it stretches categories or forces parts of speech into Procrustean boxes in the interest of 'intercomparability'. (talk) 12:48, 20 October 2018 (UTC)[]

You raise some interesting points about the article (which I agree is a mess). I'm inclined to respond ... but then again I'm not, because I'm busy and because experience tells me that responding to comments, even very perceptive ones, made by people who haven't logged in tends to be a waste of time because those people never return. And therefore -- would you care to get a user ID and log in under it? If you do this, I'll respond. (Of course you have a perfect right not to do so, and of course others are perfectly free to respond to the comment you made above.) -- Hoary (talk) 13:04, 22 October 2018 (UTC)[]
I have logged in for the first time in many years. I originally logged out because I found Wikipedia a huge time sink, although I have made miscellaneous edits from time to time using an IP address.
I find the article as it stands very unsatisfactory. It can't seem to make up its mind what it is supposed to be covering. It seems to have just 'growed' (like Topsy), as though someone has written an article on 'prepositions in English' (all well and good), and then decided to expand it beyond English and give it a worldwide scope. I don't deny a certain commonality between English prepositions and Japanese postpositions, but to be honest, anyone who tries to write an article that simultaneously delves into the intricacies of English prepositions while attempting to cover the adpositions of the world at the same time will have a tough time of it. The lack of a clear direction is what makes the article so unsatisfactory.
Prepositions are an interesting, perhaps even a singular feature of Indo-European (or maybe just European) languages. They have a strong semantic component, related to location, that is missing from postpositions or adpositions in the non-European languages that I am familiar with. In addition, prepositions in English are notorious for their use as other parts of speech ('adverbs', 'particles', components of 'phrasal verbs'). I think a very useful article could be written by covering the specific features of English prepositions, accompanied by a detailed picture of / comparison with prepositions in other Western languages. It would, for instance, make reference to the way that prepositions in languages like German and Russian require the noun to be in a certain case. It would also make reference to the versatility of prepositions in English and the way they generally straddle several syntactic classes. It might be useful to also mention that German, for instance, has separable verbs that are similar to English 'phrasal verbs', but the separable element is not necessarily a preposition (ab, for instance, isn't a German preposition).
Then, and only then, do I think you should have a section relating to similar parts of speech (adpositions) in other languages. This would have to be at a high level of generality and would probably need to point out that, while having similarities to English prepositions, adpositions in many languages lack some of the specific (unique?) features of English or European prepositions. The section could make passing reference to adposition-like markers in many different languages and their features without going into too much depth. Alternatively, 'adposition' could be put in a separate article of its own to which the article on 'preposition' could link.
The only problem with writing such an article is that I suspect it would involve original research. I don't know and I haven't actively looked for academic books or papers dealing specifically with 'prepositions' or 'adpositions' in a cross-linguistic context, but any attempt at overhauling this article along the lines I have suggested would involve a lot of research into many different sources to build up the picture that I have suggested, and would probably also need to 'put two and two together', which is original research by another name.
Unfortunately, while I believe I have proposed a viable solution to the problem, I'm afraid that I must declare that I don't have the time or resources to put this into practice myself. While I agree that it sounds pretty unreasonable to suggest that someone should bell the cat while I just quietly back out, at the moment it is simply beyond my time and capabilities.
(Later note: Scott DeLancey argues against adpositions as a universal category in his 2005 paper Adpositions as a non-universal category (in "Linguistic Diversity and Language Theories", eds. Zygmunt Frajzyngier, Adam Hodges, David S. Rood, published by John Benjamins). Incidentally, I must thank you for (indirectly) sending me on this cursory search as I finally learnt of the phenomenon known as switch-reference.)
Bathrobe (talk) 14:28, 27 October 2018 (UTC)[]
A quibble, but German ab is most certainly a preposition too. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 22:32, 1 December 2019 (UTC)[]
I agree totally with the comment, and think the first step is to change the name of this article to "preposition". The name has bothered me for a long time, and if nobody else does it, I will, when I have the time. Rick Norwood (talk) 13:41, 22 October 2018 (UTC)[]
If you take preposition to include postpositions (and circumpositions, etc), some people will complain that you should have named the article "Adposition". If you don't take it to include them, then some people will complain that you've wastefully created a need for additional articles on postpositions, etc. Whatever you want to do, I think you should discuss it and get agreement for it first. ¶ I'd greatly prefer a single article (and don't much mind whether it's titled "Preposition" or "Adposition", though I recommend the latter). ¶ Of course Japanese postpositions (or case particles) are comparable to the prepositions of, say, English or French. Of course they are comparable to case inflections as well. Comparing X with Y doesn't require that X is seen as a species of Y (or Y as a species of X), or that X must be seen from the viewpoint of Y (or vice versa). ¶ An explanation of Japanese adpositions is no less important than an explanation of English prepositions. However, the latter are easier to discuss here. What this article writes about them is bizarre. As a randomly chosen minor example, we're told that within the PP "until recently", "[recently] has the form of an adverb, which has been nominalised to serve as a noun phrase": yes, it "has the form of an adverb", simply because it is an adverb, and it neither "has been nominalised" nor is a noun phrase. Certain kinds of AdvP can serve as the complements of prepositions (another PP showing this is "before long"), simple as that. -- Hoary (talk) 13:07, 23 October 2018 (UTC)[]

Word indicated as copula does not seem to be a copula[edit]

The article currently contains the following text:

"As a predicative expression (complement of a copula)

   The key is under the stone.
   The cricketer was given out leg before wicket."

I fail to see that "was" in the second example is a copula; to me it looks like an auxiliary. Any comments?Redav (talk) 14:53, 25 March 2020 (UTC)[]

Preposition and Postposition and Mass Murders by Communist Regimes[edit]

The two titles of Wikipedia articles that I find most cringe-worthy. Can nothing be done? Rick Norwood (talk) 15:39, 15 April 2020 (UTC)[]

A Commons file used on this page or its Wikidata item has been nominated for deletion[edit]

The following Wikimedia Commons file used on this page or its Wikidata item has been nominated for deletion:

Participate in the deletion discussion at the nomination page. —Community Tech bot (talk) 00:54, 22 April 2020 (UTC)[]

The most common grammar element[edit]

I looked at languages from Chinese and korean till spanish. In all of them; the common element "AZ" that in persian means from; is present. In some languages it has the form of C,D,sta;and so on. Many thanks Amir Arab (talk) 13:05, 20 January 2021 (UTC) (talk) 13:05, 20 January 2021 (UTC)[]

Example text should be understandable[edit]

In examples, the meaning of the text should be obvious, or at least understandable to the reader. If not, then the reader has a hard time figuring out details of what the example represents. For example, "The cricketer was given out leg before wicket." is simply impossible to understand for others than the British. (What is "give out leg", what is "wicket", and is "before" here spatial or temporal?) In other words, the example is useless and serves no purpose here. Gwrede (talk) 16:57, 22 February 2021 (UTC)[]

@Gwrede: Frankly, I don't understand it either, but other than the British, many Jamaicans, Pakistanis and Indians will know what it means :) But since the clause is just as easy to parse as "Hold the newsreader's nose squarely, waiter, or friendly milk will countermand my trousers (Stephen Fry)", it is quite obvious that is not an example for a "complement of a copula", since "was" is not a copula here, but part of a passive predicate. I'll remove the sample sentence. –Austronesier (talk) 19:07, 22 February 2021 (UTC)[]

languages - hebrew.[edit]

I don't understand how to do that. what is that?: a. on the left side of the page there are links to the page in other languages. b. there is an article about adpositions in hebrew c. the hebrew page include a link to the english page d. the english page, however, does not. e. how do I add the link in that place? f. I apologise for my bad english 2A02:ED1:F000:3754:8902:D9F8:CE7:9CDA (talk) 09:42, 4 August 2021 (UTC)[]