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Case in quantifying constructions

Remnants of the old Germanic case system are found in certain quantifying constructions. E.g., PPs with cardinal numbers used for specification of time or quantity require the presence of the suffix -en:

a. Het is bij en-en
It is at one-en
It is almost one o'clock
b. Het is nu na zeven-en
It is now after seven-en
It is now past seven o'clock
c. Hij kocht het in en-en
He bought it in one-en
He bought it as one piece
d. Het schip brak in drie-en
The ship broke in three-en
The ship broke into three pieces

These examples illustrate that the suffix -en functions as the morphological marker of a these PP-constructions.


In these examples, the suffix -en cannot be interpreted as a plural suffix, as it is also used with the numeral een one. Moreover, the forms for the numerals 7 and 9 are zeven-en and negen-en respectively, whereas their plural forms are zeven-s and negen-s respectively (Booij 2010: Chapter 9).

  • Booij, Geert2010Construction morphologyOxford/New YorkOxford University Press
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