19.3748, Qs: Grammatical Category of Worth

Sun Dec 7 18:45:43 UTC 2008

LINGUIST List: Vol-19-3748. Sun Dec 07 2008. ISSN: 1068 - 4875.

Subject: 19.3748, Qs: Grammatical Category of Worth

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Date: 05-Dec-2008
From: Karen Stanley < karen.stanley at cpcc.edu >
Subject: Grammatical Category of Worth


-------------------------Message 1 ---------------------------------- 
Date: Sun, 07 Dec 2008 13:44:27
From: Karen Stanley [karen.stanley at cpcc.edu]
Subject: Grammatical Category of Worth

E-mail this message to a friend:

In the sentence, 

''The rainforests are worth preserving.''

an advanced ESL reading textbook calls 'worth' an adjective, as does the
Newbury House dictionary (with the example, ''Her dress is worth $100.'') 

The Collins CoBuild Advanced Dictionary calls it V-I (yes, intransitive
verb, which seems a great deal stranger, even after looking at the examples
- further explanation of this from list members would be welcome) and gives
the examples:

He's decided to get a look at the house and see if it might be worth buying.
Most things worth having never come easy.

A very old Jespersen's ''A Modern English Grammar,'' of the phrase 'worth
while' says that 'worth' has evolved into a preposition, and 'while' is its

I would be interested in opinions about the grammatical category of [worth]
in the initial sentence.
Karen Stanley
Charlotte, North Carolina, USA 

Linguistic Field(s): Syntax

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