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Type of NP in PP and linear order

The order of the constituents comprising an adjectival complement prepositional phrase may be determined in part by the type of noun phrase which forms part of the PP. The different types of NP which will be considered for this purpose are:

  • Referential NPs, e.g. proper names and definite noun phrases, such as Koos and hierdie boek this book, respectively;
  • Question-word NPs (interrogatives), e.g. waarom why, in both direct and indirect questions;
  • Negative NPs, e.g. geen kos of drinkgoed no food or drinks and niemand nobody;
  • Universal NPs, e.g. elkeen everybody and alles everything; and
  • R-pronoun NPs, e.g. daarmee with it and daarvan of it.


In this section, some examples of the occurrence of NPs forming part of adjectival complement PPs will be provided. Because the linear order of the adjective and complement PP may vary, depending on the type of NP which forms part of the PP, the composition of PPs containing each of the NP types listed will be discussed and exemplified in subsequent sections. At this stage, only an example of the the use of each type will be provided.

Referential NP

Consider the following example:
Hy is trots op sy span.
he is proud on his team
He is proud of his team.

In this example, the PP is placed to the right of the adjective, which is the normal sequence for this construction.

Question-word NP

Question-word NPs are normally followed by the adjective, as exemplified below.

Waaraan is hy verslaaf?
where.on.WH.Q be.PRS he addicted
What is he addicted to?

Negative NP

Consider the following example:

Dié man was met niks tevrede nie.
this man be.PST with nothing satisfied
This man was satisfied with nothing.

The sequence above is one of two possibilities (alternative follows below), and is regarded as the unmarked order.

Dié man was tevrede met niks nie.
this man be.PST satisfied with nothing
This man was satisfied with nothing.

Universal NP

Consider the following example:

Ek was so lank uitgesluit van alles.
I be.PST so long excluded from everything
I was excluded for so long from everything.

Again, more than one sequence is possible, something which is determined by various factors to be discussed in the relevant section (Universal NP).

R-pronoun NP

Consider the following example:

dat hulle daarmee tevrede was
that they there.with.PN satisfied be.PST
that they were satisfied with it

In the case of this NP, the placement of the PP will likewise depend on factors to be discussed in the relevant section (R-pronouns).

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