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2.1. Prepositional complements
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The examples in (2) show that complements of adjectives are normally PPs, which are often optional.

Example 2
a. Jan is niet boos (over die opmerking).
  Jan is not  angry   about that remark
b. Jan is niet tevreden (over zijn beloning).
  Jan is not  satisfied  with his reward

The examples in (3) further show that complements of adjectives can sometimes be clauses, which are introduced by the (often optional) anticipatory pronominal PP er + P'P + it'; given that, due to the phonological weakness of the pronominal element er, this PP is normally split by means of R-extraction, we will use italics to make it easier for the reader to detect the constituting parts of this PP.

Example 3
a. Jan is (er) boos (over) dat Peter niet gekomen is.
  Jan is there  angry  about  that  Peter not  come  is
  'Jan is angry (about it) that Peter didnʼt come.'
b. Jan is (er) tevreden (over) dat hij ontvangen is.
  Jan is there  satisfied   with  that  he  received  is
  'Jan is satisfied (about it) that he has been received.'

The option of having an anticipatory pronominal PPs in (3) indicates that these examples are related to the examples in (2). The following two subsections will discuss examples of this sort more extensively.

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[+]  I.  Prepositional complements: Adjective + P-NP

Adjectives typically select a PP as their complement. Although this PP-complement can often either precede or follow the adjective, it is normally assumed that its base-position is the one following the adjective, whereas the pre-adjectival position is derived by leftward movement.

Example 4
a. Jan is <over die opmerking> boos <over die opmerking >.
  Jan is   about that remark  angry
b. Jan is <over zijn beloning> tevreden <over zijn beloning>.
  Jan is   about his reward  satisfied

There are at least two arguments in favor of the claim that the pre-adjectival position is derived by movement. The first argument is based on the fact that stranded prepositions must occupy their base-position, as expressed by the so-called freezing principle; the fact that the stranded preposition over must follow the adjectives in the examples in (5) therefore shows that the PP originates in post-adjectival position.

Example 5
a. Jan is er <*over> boos <over>.
  Jan is there  about  angry
b. Jan is er <*over> tevreden <over>.
  Jan is there  about  satisfied

The second argument is based on the general claim that complements are generated closer to the selecting head than modifiers; if the PP is base-generated in pre-adjectival position, we wrongly predict that it should be able to follow modifiers like erg'very'; the fact that PP-complements can only precede such modifiers therefore shows that the pre-adjectival placement of PP-complements is the result of leftward movement. This discussion suffices for our present limited purpose, but we will see in Section 2.3.1 that there are various complicating factors.

Example 6
a. Jan is <over die opmerking> erg <*over die opmerking > boos.
  Jan is   about that remark very  angry
b. Jan is <over zijn beloning> erg <*over zijn beloning> tevreden.
  Jan is   about his reward  very  satisfied

From the examples above we may conclude that PP-complements are base-generated in post-adjectival position. This is also supported by the examples in (7); if the PP is base-generated in post-adjectival position, we would expect that the string A–PP forms a constituent, and the fact that this string can be preposed into the clause-initial position shows that this expectation is indeed borne out; cf. the constituency test.

Example 7
a. [Boos over die opmerking] is Jan niet.
  angry about that remark  is Jan not
b. [Tevreden over zijn beloning] is Jan niet.
  satisfied with his reward  is Jan not

      That the PPs in (4) are complements of (selected by) the adjectives is clear from the fact that the latter determine which prepositions must be used: the small sample of adjectives in Table 1 shows that we are dealing with fixed adjective-preposition collocations. The PP-complements in Table 1 are all optional. Some adjectives can be combined with more than one prepositional complement at the same time, as can be exemplified by means of boos op Peter over die opmerking'angry with Peter about that remark'; see the discussion of (16) for more details. Some of the adjectives in Table 1 are marked by means of the diacritic “#" for reasons that will become clear shortly.

Table 1: Optional prepositional complements of adjectives
preposition example translation
aan (on)schuldig aan (not) guilty of
  gehoorzaam aan obedient to
in bedreven in skilful in
met blij met glad with
  (on)gelukkig met (un)happy with
  #vergelijkbaar met comparable to
naar nieuwsgierig naar curious about
op boos/kwaad/woedend/woest op angry with
  jaloers op jealous of
  trots op proud of
  verliefd op in-love with
over bedroefd/verdrietig over sad about
  boos/kwaad/woedend/woest over angry about
  tevreden/voldaan over satisfied about
  verbaasd over astonished about
  verontwaardigd over indignant about
van #afhankelijk van dependent on
voor bang voor afraid of
  behulpzaam voor helpful to
  bevreesd voor fearful of
  #geschikt voor suitable to/appropriate for
  #gevoelig voor perceptive to/susceptible to

The actual choice of the preposition is largely unpredictable. However, if the adjective is derived from a verbal stem, such as verbaasd or afhankelijk, the selected preposition often coincides with the preposition that is used with the verb. This is shown in the examples in (8).

Example 8
a. Jan is verbaasd over het verhaal.
  Jan is astonished  about the story
a'. Jan verbaast zich over het verhaal.
  Jan wonders  refl  about the story
b. Het verkrijgen van steun is afhankelijk van een gunstig rapport.
  the obtaining of support  is dependent  on a positive report
b'. Het verkrijgen van steun hangt af van een gunstig rapport.
  the obtaining of support  depends  prt.  on a positive report

      Some adjectives obligatorily take a prepositional object. Three cases can be distinguished: (i) the adjective shows an unpredictable shift in meaning when the prepositional object is dropped, (ii) the meaning of the adjective remains constant but the adjective must appear in a different syntactic frame when the prepositional object is omitted, and (iii) no form exists without a prepositional object. We start with the first group, a sample of which is given in Table 2.

Table 2: Adjectives with and without a prepositional complement (meaning difference)
preposition with preposition without preposition
  example translation example translation
aan gewoon aan used to gewoon ordinary
met bekend met familiar with bekend well-known
  onbekend met not familiar with onbekend unknown
  vertrouwd met familiar with vertrouwd common(?)
op dol/gek op fond of dol/gek mad/crazy
van gek/verrukt van fond of gek/verrukt mad/delighted
  vol van full of/occupied with vol filled
  kapot van cut up kapot broken
  (on)zeker van (not) convinced of (on)zeker (in)secure
  ziek van fed up with ziek ill/sick
voor blind/doof voor not susceptible to blind/doof blind/deaf
tot bereid tot willing to bereid prepared

A conspicuous difference between the two sets of examples in Table 2 is that the logical subjects of adjectives that take a prepositional object are human or, at least, animate, whereas the logical subjects can also be inanimate if the adjectives do not take a prepositional object. This is shown in (9).

Example 9
a. Jan/*Het boek is bekend met dit probleem.
  Jan/the book  is familiar  with this problem
a'. Jan/Het boek is bekend.
  Jan/the book  is well-known
b. Jan/*De vaas is kapot van die gebeurtenis.
  Jan/the vase  is cut.up  by this event
b'. Jan/De vaas is kapot.
  Jan/the vase  is broken

In this connection, it should be noted that the adjectives from Table 4 below that obligatorily take a PP-complement also require an animate subject.Given that the adjectives marked with “#" in Table 1 may take an inanimate subject regardless of whether the PP-complement is present or not, we may perhaps conclude that adjectives that take an obligatory PP-complement are special in that they must denote properties of human (or, at least, animate) entities.
      A sample of the adjectives of the second type is given in Table 3. An important difference between the adjectives with and the adjectives without a PP-complement is that the logical subjects of the former can be singular whereas the logical subjects of the latter must be plural. This is illustrated in the final column of the table. Apart from the fact that the relation holding between the entities involved is expressed in an asymmetric way if the PP-complement is present and in a symmetric way if it is absent, the two cases are more or lesss synonymous.

Table 3: Adjectives with and without a prepositional complement (syntactic difference)
preposition example illustration
met bevriend (met)
‘friendly with’
Marie is goed bevriend *(met Peter).
Marie is well friendly with Peter
‘Marie is good friends with Peter.’
    Marie en Peter zijn goed bevriend.
Marie and Peter are well friendly
‘Marie and Peter are good friends.’
aan verwant (aan)
‘related to’
De mens is nauw verwant *(aan de chimpansee).
The human is closely related to the chimpanzee
‘Man is closely related to the chimpanzee.’
    De mens en de chimpansee zijn nauw verwant.
The human and the chimpanzee are closely related

Participial adjectives such as getrouwd (met)'married (to)' and verloofd (met)'engaged (to)' may also belong to this class, although the adjective without a PP-complement does occasionally occur with a singular noun phrase, as shown in (10c); perhaps, we may assume that the PP-complement has been left implicit or underspecified in this case.

Example 10
a. Marie bleek getrouwd/verloofd met Jan.
  Marie turned.out  married/engaged  to Jan
b. Marie en Jan bleken getrouwd/verloofd.
  Marie and Jan  turned.out  married/engaged
c. Marie bleek getrouwd/verloofd.
  Marie turned.out  married/engaged

      A sample of adjectives that cannot occur without a prepositional object is given in Table 4. All these adjectives are deverbal, or at least have the appearance of a past/passive participle; see Section 2.3.1, sub III, for a discussion of these so-called pseudo-participles.

Table 4: Adjectives with an obligatory prepositional complement
preposition example translation
aan gehecht aan attached/devoted to
met ingenomen met delighted with
om rouwig om sorry about
op gebrand op keen on
  gespitst op especially alert to
  gesteld op keen on
  verkikkerd op crazy about
tegen gekant tegen opposed to
van afkerig van (to have) an aversion to
[+]  II.  Clauses introduced by the anticipatory PP-complement er + P

This subsection discusses clausal complements of the adjectives introduced by the anticipatory PP er + P. The clausal complement can be finite or infinitival; we will discuss the two types in separate subsections.

[+]  A.  Finite clauses

Many of the adjectives discussed in Subsection I can also occur with a clausal complement, especially those that express a mental state of their subject. The adjectives boos'angry', tevreden'satisfied' and verontwaardigd'indignant' in (11), for example, may take a declarative clausal complement, while the adjectives benieuwd'curious' and geïnteresseerd'interested' in (12) sometimes take an interrogative clausal complement. The examples in (11) and (12) also show that the clausal complement is not adjacent to the selecting adjective, but placed after the verbs in clause-final position.

Example 11
Declarative clausal complement
a. dat Jan (er) boos (over) is [dat Peter niet uitgenodigd is].
  that  Jan there  angry  about  is   that  Peter not  invited  is
  'that Jan is angry (about it) that Peter isnʼt invited.'
b. dat Jan (er) tevreden (over) is [dat Peter uitgenodigd is].
  that  Jan there  satisfied  about  is   that  Peter invited  is
  'that Jan is satisfied (about it) that Peter is invited.'
c. dat Jan (er) verontwaardigd (over) is [dat Els niet mocht komen].
  that  Jan  there  indignant  about  is   that  Els not  allowed.to  come
  'Jan is indignant (about it) that she wasnʼt allowed to come.'
Example 12
Interrogative clausal complement
a. dat Jan (er) benieuwd (naar) is [of hij uitgenodigd is].
  that  Jan there  curious  about  is whether  he  invited  has.been
  'that Jan is eager to know whether he has been invited.'
a'. dat Jan (er) benieuwd (naar) is [wie Peter uitgenodigd heeft].
  that  Jan there  curious  about  is  who  Peter  invited  has
  'that Jan is eager to know who Peter invited.'
b. dat Jan (er) (in) geïnteresseerd was [of Els zou komen].
  that  Jan there   in  interested  was whether  Els would  come
  'that Jan was interested in whether Els would come.'
b'. dat Jan (er) (in) geïnteresseerd was [wie er zou komen].
  that  Jan  there   in  interested  was   who  there  would  come
  'that Jan turned out to be interested in who would come.'

It is plausible that the clausal complements in (11) and (12) are in fact not the syntactic complements of the adjective. The reason for this is that, as the material within parentheses shows, an anticipatory pronominal PP can be added to these examples, which acts as the semantic complement of the adjective and in which the element er is a “place-holder" of the clause-final sentence; see V4 for a discussion of comparable cases in the verbal domain. Observe in passing that the stranded preposition is placed to the right of the adjective benieuwd'curious' in (12a) and to the left of the adjective geïnteresseerd'interested' in (12b); see Section 2.3.1, sub III, for a discussion of this fact.
      The examples in (13) and (14) show that the anticipatory pronominal PP becomes obligatory if the clausal complements of the examples in (11) and (12) are placed in clause-initial position. The primeless examples show that the PP has the demonstrative form daar P'P that', which suggests that we are dealing with a form of left dislocation in these examples. That we are not dealing with topicalization is clear from the fact, illustrated in the primed examples, that the clause cannot occupy the clause-initial position immediately preceding the finite verb, irrespective of whether the pronominal PP er + P is present or not.

Example 13
a. [Dat Peter niet uitgenodigd is] daar is Jan boos over.
a'. * [Dat Peter niet uitgenodigd is] is Jan (er) boos(over).
b. [Dat Peter uitgenodigd is] daar is Jan tevreden over.
b'. * [Dat Peter uitgenodigd is] is Jan (er) tevreden (over).
c. [Dat Els niet mocht komen] daar is Jan verontwaardigd over.
c'. * [Dat Els niet mocht komen] is Jan (er) verontwaardigd (over).
Example 14
a. [Of Peter uitgenodigd is] daar is Jan benieuwd/nieuwsgierig naar.
a'. * [Of Peter uitgenodigd is] is Jan (er) benieuwd/nieuwsgierig (naar).
b. [Of Els zou komen] daar bleek Jan in geïnteresseerd.
b'. * [Of Els zou komen] bleek Jan (er) (in) geïnteresseerd.

      The possibility of omitting the anticipatory pronominal PP is restricted to those adjectives that optionally take a PP-complement; with the adjectives in Table 2 and Table 4 the anticipatory pronominal PP must therefore be present, as shown by the examples in (15).

Example 15
Obligatory pronominal prepositional complement
a. Jan is er ziek van [dat jij steeds zeurt].
  Jan is there  fed.up  with   that  you  continually  nag
  'Jan is fed up with it that you are nagging all the time.'
a'. * Jan is ziek [dat jij steeds zeurt].
b. Jan is er tegen gekant [dat Marie uitgenodigd wordt].
  Jan is there  against  opposed   that  Marie invited  is
  'Jan is opposed to it that Marie is invited.'
b'. * Jan is gekant [dat Marie uitgenodigd wordt].

      Occasionally, the anticipatory pronominal PP cannot be used at all. This is especially the case if the adjective takes two prepositional objects at the same time. Consider example (16a). That both PPs are complements of the adjective boos is clear from the fact illustrated in (16a') that the complete string boos op Peter over die opmerking can be placed in clause-initial position; cf. the constituency test. Note that we added the adverb niet'not' to the primed example since this facilitates topicalization. When we replace the noun phrase die opmerking in (16a) by a clause, it turns out that the result is still acceptable, provided that the pronominal prepositional object is absent, as is clear from the contrast between the examples in (16b) and (16c).

Example 16
a. Jan is boos op Peter over die opmerking.
  Jan is angry  with Peter  about that remark
a'. [Boos op Peter over die opmerking] is Jan niet.
b. Jan is boos op Peter dat hij niet gekomen is.
  Jan is angry  with Peter  that  he  not  come  is
  'Jan is angry with Peter about the fact that he didnʼt come.'
c. * Jan is er boos op Peter over dat hij niet gekomen is.
  Jan is there  angry  with Peter  about  that  he  not  come  is

The unacceptability of (16c) is probably related to the fact illustrated by (17) that examples such as (16a) do not allow R-extraction from any of the two PP-complements; the fact noted earlier that anticipatory pronominal PPs obligatorily split immediately accounts for the impossibility of (16c). Note further that the ungrammaticality of (17b) may in principle be due to the fact that the stranded preposition over is not immediately adjacent to the selecting adjective; cf. Section P5.3.4. The fact that the example is also excluded if the stranded preposition over precedes the op-PP (*Jan is er boos over op Peter) shows, however, that more is going on than a simple violation of some adjacency requirement.

Example 17
a. * Jan is er boos op over die opmerking .
b. * Jan is er boos op Peter over.
c. * Jan is er boos opover.
[+]  B.  Infinitival clauses

The clausal complements in the previous subsection are finite clauses, but they can also appear in the form of an infinitival clause. This is illustrated in (18), in which the infinitival clause is given in square brackets. A property of these examples is that the reference of the implied subject of the infinitival clause, which is indicated by PRO, is controlled by the subject of the matrix clause, that is, the subject and PRO refer to the same referent, which is indicated here by means of co-indexing. Like in (11), the anticipatory pronoun can be dropped in (18), although this may sometimes give rise to a somewhat marked result. The examples in (18) also show that the clausal complement is not adjacent to the selecting adjective but placed after the verbs in clause-final position.

Example 18
Optional pronominal prepositional complement
a. dat Jani (er) boos (over) is [PROi niet uitgenodigd te zijn].
  that  Jan there  angry  about  is  not  invited  to have.been
  'that Jan is angry (about it) not to have been invited.'
b. dat Jani (er) tevreden (over) is [PROi uitgenodigd te zijn].
  that  Jan there  satisfied  about  is invited  to have.been
  'that Jan is satisfied (about it) to have been invited.'
c. dat Jani (er) verontwaardigd (over) is [PROi niet te mogen komen].
  that  Jan there  indignant  about  is  not  to be.allowed  come
  'that Jan is indignant (about it) not to be allowed to come.'

Unlike finite clauses, infinitival clauses cannot readily be fronted. The examples in (19) show that, insofar as this is acceptable, the anticipatory pronominal PP must be present in the demonstrative form daar P'P that'. The primed examples show again that we are dealing with left dislocation, and not with topicalization of the clause into the clause-initial position immediately preceding the finite verb.

Example 19
a. ? [PRO niet uitgenodigd te zijn] daar is Jan boos over.
a'. * [PRO niet uitgenodigd te zijn] is Jan (er) boos (over).
b. ? [PRO uitgenodigd te zijn] daar is Jan tevreden over.
b'. * [PRO uitgenodigd te zijn] is Jan tevreden.
c. ? [PRO niet te mogen komen] daar is Jan verontwaardigd over.
c'. * [PRO niet te mogen komen] is Jan (er) verontwaardigd (over).

      The possibility of omitting the anticipatory pronominal PP is again restricted to those adjectives that optionally take a PP-complement; the examples in (20) show that the adjectives in Table 2 and Table 4 require the pronominal PP to be present.

Example 20
Obligatory pronominal prepositional complement
a. dat Jan er ziek van is [PRO steeds op zijn zusje te moeten passen].
  that  Jan there  fed.up  with  is  always  after his sister  to have.to look
  'that Jan is fed up with it to be obliged to look after his sister all the time.'
a'. * dat Jan ziek is [PRO steeds op zijn zusje te moeten passen].
b. dat Jan er tegen gekant is [PRO Marie uit te nodigen].
  that  Jan there  against  opposed  is  Marie prt.  to invite
  'that Jan is opposed to it to invite Marie.'
b'. * dat Jan gekant is [PRO Marie uit te nodigen]

Finally, the examples in (21) and (22) seem to show that the possibility of omitting the anticipatory pronominal PP correlates with the possibility of introducing the infinitival clause by means of the complementizer om: if the pronominal PP is optional, the complementizer om cannot be used, while the complementizer can be freely added if the PP isobligatory. We are not aware of any proposal that aims at accounting for this correlation (if true at all).

Example 21
a. * Jan is (er) boos (over) [om PRO niet uitgenodigd te zijn].
b. * Jan is (er) tevreden (over) [om PRO uitgenodigd te zijn].
c. * Jan is (er) verontwaardigd (over) [om PRO niet te mogen komen].
Example 22
a. Jan is er ziek van [om PRO steeds op zijn zusje te moeten passen]
b. Jan is ertegen gekant [om PRO Marie uit te nodigen].
[+]  III.  A note on adjectives modified by te, genoeg, and voldoende

Many adjectives do not readily take a prepositional complement. Consider for instance the examples in (23); the number sign indicates that (23b) is acceptable but only on an adverbial reading of the PP voor de training “before the training", which is irrelevant here.

Example 23
a. * Jan is jong/oud voor de disco.
  Jan is young/old  for the disco
b. # Els bleek aangesterkt voor de training.
  Els turned.out  recuperated  for the training

These examples in (24) show that this becomes fully acceptable, however, once the adjectives are modified by an intensifier like te'too', genoeg'enough', voldoende'sufficiently', or tamelijk/behoorlijk/nogal.

Example 24
a. Jan is te/tamelijk jong voor de disco.
  Jan is too/fairly  young  for the disco
b. Marie is oud genoeg voor de disco.
  Marie is old enough  for the disco
c. Els bleek voldoende aangesterkt voor de training.
  Els turned.out  sufficiently  recuperated  for the training

That the modified adjective and the PP in (24) form a constituent is clear from the fact illustrated by (25) that they can be preposed as a whole; cf. the constituency test. Examples of this kind are more extensively discussed in Section 3.1.3.

Example 25
a. [Te/?tamelijk jong voor de disco] is Jan niet.
  too young for the disco  is Jan not
b. [Oud genoeg voor de disco] is Marie nog niet.
  old enough for the disco  is Marie not yet
c. [Voldoende aangesterkt voor de training] is Els nog niet.
  sufficiently recuperated for the training  is Els not yet
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