"Info-viewer _for on_ the desktop." [NT]

Arnold Zwicky zwicky at STANFORD.EDU
Fri Oct 28 14:58:52 UTC 2011

On Oct 27, 2011, at 9:24 AM, Wilson Gray wrote, about "Info-viewer _for on_ the desktop":

> x

this is a P ("for") with a PP object ("on the desktop") -- an ordinary construction of English ("The cognac is for after dinner", etc.), discussed in the big grammars of standard English (like CGEL).  so:
  P1 + [ P2 + NP ]

in this case, P1 + NP is also possible ("Info-viewer for the desktop"), but NP is understood like the more explicit P2 + NP; the default P for location with respect to a plane surface is "on".  (compare: "for under the desktop", "for near the desktop", for "above the desktop", etc.).

[but since "for on the desktop" and "for the desktop" are both available, some critics will probably treat the second as pleonastic.]


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