I lately lost a preposition

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Sun Feb 10 20:51:56 UTC 2008

OK, so with the (British example of) "proceeded", there is no
article; with the (British, IIRC) examples of "agreed", there is an
article.  But both seemed to me to be lost prepositions:

They agreed on the agenda.
He proceeded to a Ph.D. in 1987.

as us Americans would say.

Perhaps "proceeded DD" in the DNB has proceeded not only to lose its
preposition but also its article; that is, first there was "proceeded
a DD".  And one will find other verbs in Britain that have lost their
prepositions.  And perhaps some, like this "proceeded", that have
also lost their articles?  (Perhaps in Victoria Station.)


P.S.  Thanks for "anthrous".  I looked in the ADS-L archives briefly,
but didn't find a definition; nor is it in the OED.  Eventually I
thought to check the OED for "anarthrous"!

At 2/10/2008 11:40 AM, Arnold M. Zwicky wrote:
>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.
>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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