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2.3.1.General introduction
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This section briefly discusses some general properties of PO-verbs and their prepositional objects. Before we start, it should be noted that many scholars have tried to give waterproof diagnostic criteria for deciding whether or not we are dealing with a prepositional object, whereas so far the general feeling is that all attempts have failed. The discussion in this section will also leave room for doubt, but we hope that the reader will nevertheless get some idea of the properties of PP-complements.

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[+]  I.  The verb and the preposition form a semantic unit

The one thing that all researchers seem to agree on is that the verb and the preposition that heads the PP-complement form a semantic unit, that is, express a lexically determined meaning; the meaning of the prepositions in isolation is lost. For example, the functional prepositions op and voor in the primeless examples in (295) do not have the locational meanings of the prepositions op and voor in the primed examples.

295
a. Jan wacht op zijn vader.
PP-complement
  Jan waits  for  his father
a'. Jan wacht op het perron.
adverbial PP
  Jan waits  on  the platform
b. Jan vecht/ijvert voor een betere wereld.
PP-complement
  Jan fights/agitates  for  a better world
b'. Jan vecht/*ijvert voor de school.
adverbial PP
  Jan fights/agitates  in.front.of  the school

The meaning of the verbs may also be bleached: whereas the verb vechten'to fight' in (295b') implies that the agent is physically involved in the activity of fighting, this is not the most prominent interpretation of the verb vechten in (295b), which may just indicate that Jan is actively involved in some activity that aims at creating a better world. This ambiguity in verbs like vechten means that in some cases it is not immediately clear whether we are dealing with a PP-complement or a PP with some other function. In example (296), for instance, the verb vechten may be used with the bleached, "metaphorical" meaning that we also find in (295b) or with the more "literal" reading in (295b'); in the former case, the PP may function as a PP-complement and in the latter as an adverbial purpose phrase of the type that we also find in Ze spaart voor een auto'She is saving money for a car'.

296
Jan vecht voor zijn leven.
  Jan fights  for his life
'Jan is fighting for his life'

Another case, taken from Schermer-Vermeer (2006), is given in (297). Example (297a) involves an adverbial comitative met-PP, as is clear from the fact that this example alternates with (297a'); cf. Section 3.4. In example (297b), on the other hand, the meaning of the verb has bleached and we may therefore be dealing with a PP-complement; a potential argument in favor of this is that this example no longer allows the alternation that we find in the (a)-examples.

297
a. Jan worstelt met zijn buurman.
  Jan wrestles  with his neighbor
  'Jan is wrestling with his neighbor.'
a'. Jan en zijn buurman worstelen.
  Jan and his neighbor  wrestle
b. Jan worstelt met zijn computer/geweten.
  Jan wrestles  with his computer/conscience
  'Jan is having difficulties with his computer/conscience.'
b'. * Jan en zijn computer/geweten worstelen.
  Jan and his computer/conscience  wrestle

The examples above show that the dividing line between PP-complements and PPs with some other functions is diffuse. This may be due to the fact that the V + P collocation may be a lexicalized form of an otherwise productive grammatical pattern, as a result of semantic bleaching. Consequently, it may sometimes be hard to use semantic criteria as evidence for one position or another; the decision will then have to be made by appealing to a larger number of properties of the construction as a whole.
      Since the verb and the preposition form a semantic unit, it has been suggested that in order to speak of a PP-complement, the PP must be obligatorily present. This criterion, however, would imply that the PP op zijn vader in (295a) is not a complement of the verb wachten, despite the fact that this example is often given as the prototypical case of a PP-complement. It may be feasible, however, to claim that PPs that cannot be omitted (without affecting the idiosyncratic meaning of the verb + P collocation) do involve a PP-complement; the fact that the PPs in (298) cannot be dropped can then be considered sufficient for concluding that we are dealing with PP-complements in these cases.

298
a. Jan vertrouwt *(op zijn geluk).
  Jan relies    on his luck
b. Jan rekent #(op zijn geluk).
  Jan relies     on his luck
[+]  II.  A PP-complement cannot be replaced by adverbial pro-forms

The examples in (295) show that clauses with a PP-complement and clauses with an adverbial PP may look very similar on the surface. The two cases can often be distinguished by replacing the PP by adverbial pro-forms like daar'there' and hier'here'. If we are dealing with an adverbial PP of place, this is normally possible, but not if we are dealing with a PP-complement: daar in (299a) corresponds to the adverbial PP in (295a'), but not to the PP-complement in (295a); similarly, daar in (299b) corresponds to the adverbial PP in (295b'), but not to the PP-complement in (295b).

299
a. Jan wacht daar.
  Jan waits  there
b. Jan vecht daar.
  Jan fights  there

The fact that a PP-complement cannot be replaced by an adverb like daar or hier need not surprise us, since this would result in the loss of the preposition, which forms a semantic unit with the verb. That it is indeed the loss of the preposition that causes the problem in the case of PP-complements is clear from the fact that R-pronominalization, which retains the preposition, is possible with PP-complements. This is shown by the fact that the pronominal PPs in (300) are typically interpreted as PP-complements.

300
a. Jan wacht daarop.
  Jan waits  for.that
b. Jan ijvert daarvoor.
  Jan fights  for.that

The possibility of R-pronominalization is not sufficient, however, for concluding that we are dealing with a PP-complement: pronominal PPs like daarvoor/daarop can also be used as adverbial phrases, including locational ones. This test can therefore not be used to distinguish the (a)-examples and (b)-examples in (297) from Subsection I.

[+]  III.  The preposition has no or a restricted paradigm

Since the verb and preposition form a semantic unit, the preposition of a PP-complement normally cannot be replaced by some other preposition, in contrast to what is the case with adverbially used PPs of place or time. Some examples are given in (301).

301
a. Jan wacht op/#bij/#naast zijn vader.
PP-complement
  Jan waits  for/near/next.to  his father
a'. Jan wacht op/bij/naast het perron.
adverbial PP
  Jan waits  on/near/next.to  the platform
b. Jan ijvert/vecht voor/*bij/*achter een betere wereld.
PP-complement
  Jan fights/fights  for/near/behind  a better world
b'. Jan vecht voor/bij/achter de school.
adverbial PP
  Jan fights  in.front.of/near/behind  the school

This does not, however, provide a foolproof test for determining whether we are dealing with a PP-complement. A first complication is that non-locational and non-temporal adverbial PPs also have a restricted paradigm; the preposition met in comitative PPs like met zijn buurman'with his neighbor' in (297a), for instance, cannot be replaced by any other preposition either (with the possible exception of zonder'without'), which means that this test cannot be used to distinguish the (a)- and (b)-examples in (297).
      A second complication is that certain verbs can select different PP-complements. In some cases, like the (a)- and (b)-examples in (302), the choice of the preposition hardly affects the meaning of the verbs.

302
a. Els gelooft vooral in zichzelf.
  Els believes  especially  in herself
a'. Els gelooft aan spiritisme.
  Els believes  in spiritualism
b. Jan denkt aan/om zijn moeder.
  Jan thinks  about/about  his mother
b'. Jan denkt over een nieuwe baan.
  Jan thinks  about  a new job

Less problematic are those cases in which a different choice of preposition goes hand-in-hand with a different meaning: for cases such as jagen op in (303a), which is construed literally as "to hunt", and jagen naar in (303b), which is interpreted metaphorically with the meaning "to seek", we may assume that we are dealing with two separate lexical entries.

303
a. Peter jaagt op herten.
  Peter hunts  at deer
  'Peter is hunting deer.'
b. Peter jaagt naar succes.
  Peter hunts  after success
  'Peter seeks success.'

Table 8 presents a small sample of PO-verbs that are compatible with more than one preposition. Note that with these verbs the paradigms of the prepositions are still very limited; usage of any other preposition with these verbs will give rise to an unacceptable result or to an adverbial reading of the PP.

Table 8: PO-Verbs compatible with more than one preposition
preposition verb translation
aan, met beginnen aan/met to start/to begin with
aan, om,over
aan, over
denken aan/om/over
twijfelen aan/over
to think about/to mind/to think of
to doubt about/about
aan, in geloven aan/in to believe in
bij, tot behoren bij/tot to rank among/to belong to
naar, op
naar, tot
naar, om
jagen naar/op
leiden naar/tot
vragen naar/om
to seek/to hunt after
to lead to/to end in
to inquire after/to ask for
om, van
om, over
om, over, voor
huilen om/van
treuren om/over
vechten om/voor/over
to cry over/to cry with
to mourn for/over
to fight for/for/over
over, van spreken over/van
horen over/van
to mention/to speak of
to hear about/of
van, uit bevrijden van/uit
redden van/uit
to rescue from/to deliver from
to save from

[+]  IV.  A PP-complement cannot be modified

Given that the verb and the preposition of the PP-complement form a semantic unit, they differ from adverbial PPs in that they cannot be independently modified. This is illustrated in (304); the fact that the voor-PP in (304b) can be modified by the adverbial modifier vlak'just' is sufficient to show that this PP is an adverbial phrase.

304
a. * Jan vecht/ijvert vlak voor een betere wereld.
PP-complement
  Jan fights/agitates  just  for a better world
b. Jan vecht vlak voor de school.
adverbial PP
  Jan fights  just  in.front.of the school

Modification is a typical property of locational and temporal PPs–most other adverbial PPs do not have this property; see Section P3.3 for a small number of exceptions. This means that the inability of a PP to be modified is not sufficient to conclude that we are dealing with a PP-complement.

[+]  V.  R-extraction

So far, we have focused on the fact that the verb and the preposition heading the PP-complement form a semantic unit. It is therefore useful to stress that the verb and the preposition do not form a syntactic unit. In other words, it is not the case that the verb and the preposition have the behavior of a complex (transitive) verb. This is clear from the fact illustrated in the (a)-examples in (305) that the complement of the preposition op, unlike the object zijn vader of a transitive verb like kussen'to kiss' in (305b), cannot be topicalized in isolation and is thus unable to strand the preposition.

305
a. # Zijn vaderi heeft hij [PP op ti] gewacht.
  his father  has  he  for  waited
a'. [PP Op zijn vader]i heeft hij ti gewacht.
  for his father  has  he  waited
b. Zijn vader heeft hij ti gekust.
  his father  has  he  kissed

Note that the string Zijn vader heeft hij opgewacht in (305a) is acceptable if opgewacht is construed as the participle of the particle verb opwachten'to wait for/lie in wait for', hence the use of the number sign. Another complicating fact is that some speakers do accept the string in (305a) on its intended meaning. It has been suggested that these speakers construe the example as in (306); in other words, these speakers allow deletion of the R-word part of pronominal PPs; see Section P5.3 for further discussion.

306
Zijn vaderi daari heeft hij [PP opti] gewacht.
  his father  there  has  he  for  waited

      Although topicalization of the complement of the preposition is not possible, the formation of pronominal PPs and R-extraction are. This is shown in (307).

307
a. dat Jan daar al tijden op wacht.
  that  Jan there  already  ages  for waits
  'that Jan has been waiting for that for ages.'
b. dat Jan daar al jaren voor ijvert.
  that  Jan there  already  years  for  fights
  'that Jan has been fighting for that for years.'

The possibility of R-extraction is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for assuming that a certain PP is a complement. That it is not sufficient is clear from the fact that certain adverbial phrases, such as the instrumental met-PP in (308a), and PPs used as complementives, like op het bed in (308b), also allow R-extraction.

308
a. dat Jan de vloer met een oude doek schoon maakt.
  that  Jan the floor  with an old cloth  clean  makes
  'that Jan is cleaning the floor with an old cloth.'
a'. dat Jan daar de vloer mee schoon maakt.
  that  Jan there  the floor  with  clean  makes
  'that Jan is cleaning the floor with that.'
b. dat Jan de lakens op het bed legt.
  that  Jan the sheets  on the bed  puts
  'that Jan is putting the sheets on the bed.'
b'. dat Jan daar de lakens op legt.
  that  Jan there  the sheets  on  puts
  'that Jan is putting the sheets on that.'

Comitative PPs like met de buurman in (297a) do not readily allow R-extraction given that they involve a +human noun phrase; R-pronominalization and R-extraction are normally only accepted in relative clauses such as (309a); see Section P5.1. The fact that (309b) can only be construed as involving an inanimate theme can therefore not be used as an argument for claiming that the two PPs in (297a) and (297b) have a different syntactic status.

309
a. de man [waar Jan mee worstelt]
  the man   where  Jan with  wrestles
  'the man with whom Jan is wrestling'
b. dat Jan er al een tijdje mee worstelt.
  that  Jan there  already  a while  with  wrestles
  'that Jan is wrestling with it/*him for a while.'
[+]  VI.  Anticipatory pronominal PP-complements

Consider the examples in (310), in which the PP-complement has undergone R-pronominalization. The R-word er in these examples has a function similar to that of the anticipatory pronounhet'it' in examples like dat Jan het al weet dat Peter ziek is'that Jan already knows it that Peter is ill', which is used to introduce the direct object clause dat Peter ziek is; like het the form er functions as an anticipatory pronoun introducing a dependent clause.

310
a. dat Jan er op wacht dat Peter zijn excuses aanbiedt.
  that  Jan there  for  waits  that  Peter his apologies  prt.-offers
b. dat de socialisten er voor ijveren dat de wereld beter wordt.
  that  the socialists  there  for  fight  that  the world  better  becomes

Although not all PP-complements can be used as anticipatory phrases, the possibility of such a use seems a sufficient condition for assuming complement status; adverbial phrases are never used in this way. The anticipatory PPs in the examples in (311) can only be interpreted as PP-complements, not as adverbial phrases.

311
a. Jan wacht er op dat zijn vader thuis komt.
  Jan waits  there  for  that  his father  home  comes
  'Jan is waiting for his father to come home.'
b. Jan vecht/ijvert er voor dat de wereld beter wordt.
  Jan fights/agitates  there  for  that  the world  better  becomes
  'Jan is striving for the world to become a better place.'

If anticipatory pronominal PPs are indeed necessarily PP-complements, example (312) shows that the collocation worstelen met sometimes must be analyzed as involving a PP-complement; this strongly favors our earlier claim that (297b) involves a PO-verb.

312
Jan worstelt er mee dat zijn vrouw hem verlaten heeft.
  Jan wrestles there  with  that  his wife  him  left  has
'Jan is having difficulties with the fact that his wife has left him.'

      A complicating factor that must be mentioned here is that in many cases the anticipatory pronominal PP can be omitted; a clear example of this phenomenon is given in (313a). In some cases, such as (313b), speakers seem to differ in their judgments on the omissability of the pronominal PP. Example (313c) illustrates that omitting the pronominal PP is not always possible.

313
a. Jan klaagt (erover) dat Marie hem steeds plaagt.
  Jan complains   about.it  that  Marie him  always  teases
  'Jan complains (about it) that Marie always teases him.'
b. Wij twijfelen %(eraan) of het huis ooit afgebouwd wordt.
  we  doubt     of.it  whether  the house  ever  prt.-finished  is
  'We doubt whether the house will ever be finished.'
c. Jan berust *(erin) dat Marie komt.
  Jan resigns     on.it  that  Marie  comes
  'Jan resigns himself to the fact that Marie will come.'

In fact, examples (314a&b) show that pronominal PPs must be dropped in the nominalized counterparts of the examples in (313a&b). The fact illustrated in (314c) that example (313c) cannot be nominalized can probably attributed to the fact that the pronominal PP cannot be dropped because nominalization is possible if the noun takes a regular PP: zijn berusting in haar komst'his being resigned to her coming'.

314
a. Jans klacht (*erover) dat Marie hem steeds plaagt
  Janʼs complaint    about.it  that  Marie him  always  teases
  'Janʼs complaint that Marie always teases him.'
b. onze twijfel (*eraan) of het huis ooit afgebouwd wordt
  our  doubt     of.it  whether  the house  ever  prt.-finished  is
  'our doubt whether the house will ever be finished'
c. Jans berusting *(??erin) dat Marie komt
  Janʼs resignation        on.it  that  Marie  comes

The fact that the PP can be dropped may be somewhat surprising given that the verb and the preposition form a semantic unit. However, there is reason for assuming that the PP is still syntactically present when it is not pronounced. To see this first consider the examples in (315), which show that the anticipatory pronoun het'it' blocks topicalization of clausal objects: (315b) is only acceptable if the pronoun is dropped.

315
a. Jan vertelde het [dat Peter ziek is].
  Jan told  it   that  Peter ill  is
  'Jan told it that Peter is ill.'
b. [dat Peter ziek is] vertelde Jan (*het).

The examples in (316) show that the presence of an anticipatory pronominal PP likewise blocks topicalization of the clauses in (313a&b). In this case, however, omission of the anticipatory pronominal PP does not improve the result; cf. Vandeweghe & Devos (2003). This may be taken as evidence for the claim that it is still syntactically present.

316
a. * [dat Marie hem steeds plaagt] klaagt Jan (er over).
  that  Marie him  always  teases  complains  Jan about.it
  'Jan complains (about it) that Marie always teases him.'
b. * [dat hij ongelijk had] overtuigde Jan Peter (ervan).
  that  he  wrong  had convinced  Jan Peter of it

In (317), we give a small sample of PO-verbs that may combine with a (finite or infinitival) dependent clause, and we indicate whether or not the anticipatory PP can be dropped in that case. The judgments given are our own; it may be the case that other speakers have slightly different judgments. It is not clear to us what factors determine whether the pronominal PP must be overtly realized or can be dropped.

317
a. PO-verbs with an obligatory anticipatory pronominal PP: aandringen op'to insist', iemand belasten met'to make someone responsible for', berusten in'to resign oneself to', iemand complementeren met'to complement someone on', zich ergeren aan'to be annoyed at', iemand feliciteren met'to congratulate someone with', genieten van'to enjoy', iemand herinneren aan'to remind someone of', houden van'to like', rekenenop'to count on', vertrouwen op'to rely on', zich verbazen over'to wonder at', zich verwonderen over'to be amazed at', wachten op'to wait for'PO-verbs with an obligatory anticipatory pronominal PP: aandringen op'to insist', iemand belasten met'to make someone responsible for', berusten in'to resign oneself to', iemand complementeren met'to complement someone on', zich ergeren aan'to be annoyed at', iemand feliciteren met'to congratulate someone with', genieten van'to enjoy', iemand herinneren aan'to remind someone of', houden van'to like', rekenenop'to count on', vertrouwen op'to rely on', zich verbazen over'to wonder at', zich verwonderen over'to be amazed at', wachten op'to wait for'
b. PO-verbs with an optional anticipatory pronominal PP: iemand aansporen tot'to urge someone on', zich beklagen over'to complain about', iemand beschuldigen van'to accuse someone of', informeren naar'to inquire about', iemand inlichten over'to inform someone about', klagen over'to complain about', oppassen voor'to look out for', iemand opwekken tot'to urge someone on to', iemand overhalen tot'to persuade someone to', iemand overtuigen van'to convince someone of', zich schamen over'to be ashamed of', twijfelen aan/over'to doubt of/to be in doubt about', uitkijken voor'to watch out for', waarschuwen voor'to warn against', zaniken/zeuren over'to nag about', zorgen voor'to look after'PO-verbs with an optional anticipatory pronominal PP: iemand aansporen tot'to urge someone on', zich beklagen over'to complain about', iemand beschuldigen van'to accuse someone of', informeren naar'to inquire about', iemand inlichten over'to inform someone about', klagen over'to complain about', oppassen voor'to look out for', iemand opwekken tot'to urge someone on to', iemand overhalen tot'to persuade someone to', iemand overtuigen van'to convince someone of', zich schamen over'to be ashamed of', twijfelen aan/over'to doubt of/to be in doubt about', uitkijken voor'to watch out for', waarschuwen voor'to warn against', zaniken/zeuren over'to nag about', zorgen voor'to look after'
[+]  VII.  Syntactic tests for distinguishing PP-complements and adverbial PPs

The previous subsections have pointed out that PP-complements differ in various respects from adverbial PPs: the head of a PP-complement forms a semantic unit with the verb, is part of a restricted paradigm and cannot be dropped under pronominalization of the PP; the prepositional head of an adverbial PP, on the other hand, has independent meaning, is part of a paradigm and can be dropped if the PP is replaced by an adverb. This subsection discusses some additional syntactic tests that have been proposed to distinguish prepositional objects from adverbial PPs.

[+]  A.  Position in the middle field of the clause

Word order may also provide a clue as to the status of a PP. PP-complements are generated as part of the lexical projection of the verb, whereas adverbial PPs are generated as adjuncts, that is, external to the lexical projection of the verb. This is reflected in that PP-complements are normally closer to the verb in clause-final position than the adverbial PPs are (although PP-complements can, of course, precede the adverbial phrases if they are topicalized or wh-moved).

318
a. dat Jan [op het perron]adv [op zijn vader]compl wacht.
  that Jan  on the platform   for his father  waits
a'. * dat Jan [op zijn vader]compl [op het perron]adv wacht.
b. dat de communisten [tijdens WO II]adv [voor een betere wereld]compl ijverden.
  that the communists during WW II  for a better world  fought
b'. * dat de communisten [voor een betere wereld] compl [tijdens WO II]adv ijverden.

The fact that the PP-complements in (318) must follow the adverbial phrases of place/time can also be used to distinguish the two met-phrases in (297); whereas the comitative met-PP in the (a)-examples in (319) can readily precede the frequency adverb vaak'often', this gives rise to a marked and semantically incoherent result in the metaphorical (b)-examples, which may be construed as evidence in favor of complement status for the PP in the latter examples.

319
a. dat Jan vaak met zwaargewichten geworsteld heeft.
  that  Jan often  with heavyweights  wrestled  has
  'that Jan has often wrestled with his heavyweights.'
a'. dat Jan met zwaargewichten vaak geworsteld heeft.
b. $ dat Jan vaak met zijn computer/geweten geworsteld heeft.
  that  Jan often  with his computer/conscience  wrestled  has
  'that Jan is having difficulties with his computer/conscience.'
b'. $ dat Jan met zijn computer/geweten vaak geworsteld heeft.
[+]  B.  Pseudo-cleft sentences

For some (but not all) speakers, PP-complements can be used in so-called pseudo-cleft sentences whereas adverbial PPs cannot; cf. Van den Toorn (1981:35). This is illustrated in (320). The judgments given on the examples in (320b'&d') only hold for the intended, locational reading of the PP.

320
a. Jan wacht op een uitnodiging voor het feest.
PP-complement
  Jan waits  for an invitation for the party
a'. Waarop Jan wacht is een uitnodiging voor het feest.
  for.what  Jan waits  is an invitation for the party
b. Jan wacht op het perron.
adverbial PP
  Jan waits  on the platform
b'. * Waarop Jan wacht is het perron.
  on.what  Jan  waits  is the platform
c. De communisten vochten voor een betere wereld.
PP-complement
  the communists  fought  for a better world
<
c'.