I lately lost a preposition

Arnold M. Zwicky zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU
Sun Feb 10 16:40:05 UTC 2008

On Feb 10, 2008, at 7:53 AM, Joel Berson wrote:

> At 2/10/2008 10:33 AM, Arnold M. Zwicky wrote:
>> so maybe the "proceed" cases are just instances of a small-scale
>> idiom, now vanished.
> Not quite vanished?  My instance is in the print  2004 _Oxford
> Dictionary of National Biography_.

ah, i'd missed that.

> I did notice that "agreed" took an "a" and "proceeded" did not, but
> being a non-professional I do not know whether that is significant
> (how many other verbs in British usage can/do follow either model?)

ordinary transitive verbs in english (british and american) have full
NP objects, which means the objects include determiners where
appropriate (or necessary, as is the case for singular count NPs).  so
   He earned/acquired/... a/the/his B.A. in 1962.  [full NP object]
and not
   *He earned/acquired B.A. in 1962.  ["bare" NP object, with no
(the same is true of objects of prepositions, of course; they have
full NP objects.)

so "agree", with or without a preposition, is just a routine verb in
english with respect to the kinds of objects it occurs with.

the pattern of "proceed" in the examples we've seen so far is
different: a bare NP direct object (and then a very specific kind of
direct object):
   He proceeded B.A. in 1962.
in fact, we haven't seen any examples of "proceed" with a full direct
object NP:
   ??He proceeded a B.A. in 1962.
*or* any examples of "proceed to" with a bare object NP:
   ??He proceeded to B.A. in 1962.

so far, it looks like we have an idiom "proceed" + [university degree

> -- nor do I know what "arthrous" means!

"arthrous" 'with an article'; "anarthrous" 'without an article'.  i've
used it a number of times on ADS-L.


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