Scalar Prepositions

(Under Development)


Scalar prepositions hold complements that have reference to a scale. Most often, they identify a point on a continuum, but they may also establish the existence of a scale, or the top or bottom values on one. This discussion of the scalar class of prepositions is based on an examination of the scalar senses identified in The Preposition Project (TPP) with the Pattern Dictionary of English Prepositions (PDEP). This set of senses is indirectly discussed in paragraph 9.32 Quirk et al, which discusses metaphorical or abstract uses of spatial prepositions (see the Spatial class). There are 25 scalar senses under 18 prepositions; however, the TPP Quantity category with 39 senses under 31 prepositions is likely to be merged with scalar prepositions. The complements of many scalar prepositions are quantities or have some entity characterized numerically (with the entity constituting the scale). Frequently, the governor will identify the scale under discussion. (See Preposition Classes for how this class relates to other classes. For the supersenses (unlexicalized categores for prepositions), see PrepWiki; the PDEP database is being kept synchronized with this project, as they are assigned to TPP senses.)

Category Types

Most scalar prepositions specify quantities that are relative; some may be purely numeric. The type of relation may be inherent in the preposition itself; the scale involved is usually specified by the complement itself (with a numeric qualifier), the governor, or some other sentence element, including:

Selection Criteria

For the most part, scalar prepositions are recognized based only on the properties of the complement. Selectors for the complement look at the complement itself (hr or c). Many of these can be recognised with the WordNet lexical name (ln) noun.quantity . Others can be recognized by using the part of speech (pos) cd (i.e., recognizing cardinal numbers). Since scalar expressions can usually be found with almost any kind of governor, developing criteria for the governor is less successful.

References

  1. Quirk, R., Greenbaum, S., Leech, G., and Svartik, J. 1985. A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language. Longman: New York, pp. 685-7.

Comments to: Ken Litkowski  Modified: December 26 2016 15:03:23.

PDEP Scalar Class (127 senses)
PrepositionSenseSubclassSrtypeSupersenseClassedCountPctNF
\'pon22(12)ScaleThingAddedToYes0100.00.19
\'pon9(3a)-1ScaleValueBasisYes0100.00.19
a cut above1(1)GreaterThingOutrankedYes14100.02.60
above10(n)GreaterNormSurpassedYes57100.0262.21
above5(2a)GreaterThingOutrankedScalar/RankYes7100.032.20
above6(2b)GreaterEntitySubordinateScalar/RankYes12100.055.20
above7(2c)GreaterThingNotPreferredScalar/RankYes2100.09.20
above8(2d)GreaterDrownedSoundScalar/RankYes6100.027.60
above9(3)GreaterNormScalar/Rank,ValueComparisonYes75100.0345.02
according to3(1b)ScaleScaleOfReferenceCircumstanceYes66100.0351.21
afore4(3)GreaterThingOutrankedScalar/RankYes0100.00.19
after8(4)LessThingPreferredScalar/RankYes0100.031.43
ahead of4(n)GreaterNormYes103100.074.74
at5(3)EquivalenceLevelFrequency,ValueYes82100.06331.52
at6(3a)AgeAgeAgeYes9100.0694.92
at a range of1(1)EquivalenceDistanceYes7100.01.30
atop2(n)GreaterNormSurpassedYes4100.00.74
before4(3)GreaterThingOutrankedScalar/RankYes1100.015.45
behind8(5)LessNormSuperiorScalar/RankYes5100.023.03
behind9(6)LessCompetitorAheadScalar/RankYes4100.018.42
below2(1a)LessNormSuperiorScalar/RankYes9100.017.67
below3(1b)LessQuantityAboveScalar/Rank,ValueComparisonYes147100.0288.60
beneath4(2a)LessNormSuperiorScalar/RankYes9100.08.53
beneath5(2b)LessPartyWorthierScalar/RankYes3100.02.84
beside2(1a)ScaleComparatorComparison/ContrastYes13100.08.99
between3(3)ScaleScaleEndsApproximatorYes19100.0829.85
between6(4b)ScalePairContrastingComparison/ContrastYes18100.0786.17
between7(4c)ScaleComparatorsYes26100.01135.58
betwixt3(3)ScaleScaleEndsApproximatorYes1100.00.19
betwixt6(4b)ScalePairContrastingComparison/ContrastYes0100.00.19
betwixt7(4c)ScaleComparatorsYes0100.00.19
beyond3(1b)GreaterNormSurpassedScalar/RankYes76100.0319.28
beyond5(3)GreaterLevelYes9100.037.81
beyond6(3a)GreaterAmountScalar/RankYes24100.0100.83
beyond7(4)GreaterNormSurpassedYes29100.0121.83
by12(3)GreaterMarginSizeExtentYes14100.01669.01
by13(3a)ScaleUnitSizeValueYes7100.0834.50
by15(3c)ScaleUnitNameAttributeYes3100.0357.64
by16(3d)MathematicalMultiplierValueYes0100.0119.21
depending on1(1)ScaleScaleOfReferenceCircumstanceYes242100.0185.66
down7(n)ScaleScaleOfReferenceYes5100.07.29
for10(8a)EquivalencePriceValueYes4100.0635.93
for11(9)ScaleScaleOfReferenceScalar/RankYes10100.01589.83
for13(11)EquivalenceDistanceExtentYes0100.0158.98
fore4(3)GreaterThingOutrankedScalar/RankYes0100.00.19
frae6(4)ScaleRangeStartSourceYes0100.00.19
frae7(4a)ScaleRangeStartYes0100.00.19
from6(4)ScaleRangeStartSourceYes31100.02588.15
from7(4a)ScaleRangeStartComparison/ContrastYes10100.0834.89
give or take1(1)EquivalenceAmountOfVarianceYes10100.01.85
gone2(1a)AgeAgeYes0100.00.19
in advance of2(n)GreaterThingOutrankedYes19100.04.22
in excess of1(1)GreaterQuantitySurpassedYes250100.094.42
in favor of1(1)GreaterThingPreferredYes8100.01.48
in favour of1(1)GreaterThingPreferredYes61100.0114.83
in proportion to1(1)ScaleGaugeYes138100.025.60
in proportion to2(1a)ScaleComparatorYes42100.07.79
in proportion to3(n)ScaleGaugeYes9100.01.67
into8(8)MathematicalDividendValueYes44100.01158.57
less1(1)MathematicalSubtrahendYes26100.04.82
little short of1(1)LessLevelApproachedYes38100.07.05
minus1(1)MathematicalSubtrahendYes112100.020.78
minus3(2)MathematicalDegreesApproximatorYes5100.00.93
mod1(1)MathematicalModulusYes0100.00.19
modulo1(1)MathematicalModulusYes0100.00.19
near4(3a)LessLevelApproachedValueComparisonYes6100.032.02
near to4(3a)LessLevelApproachedYes12100.03.17
neath4(2a)LessNormSuperiorScalar/RankYes0100.00.19
neath5(2b)LessPartyWorthierScalar/RankYes0100.00.19
next to2(2)LessThingPreferredScalar/RankYes0100.00.19
next to3(3)LessLevelApproachedYes0100.00.19
next to4(4)ScaleComparatorComparison/ContrastYes0100.00.19
nigh4(3a)LessLevelApproachedYes1100.00.19
nothing short of1(1)LessLevelApproachedYes67100.012.43
o\'4(2)EquivalenceQuantityExtent,ValueYes0100.00.00
o\'5(2a)AgeAgeAgeYes0100.00.00
o\'er10(3)GreaterQuantitySurpassedApproximatorYes0100.00.00
o\'er5(2a)GreaterThingOutrankedScalar/RankYes0100.00.00
o\'er7(2c)GreaterThingNotPreferredScalar/RankYes0100.00.00
o\'er8(2d)GreaterThingOutnumberedScalar/RankYes0100.00.00
o\'er9(2e)GreaterDrownedSoundScalar/RankYes0100.00.00
of4(2)EquivalenceQuantityExtent,ValueYes8100.01978.59
of5(2a)AgeAgeAgeYes1100.0247.32
of the order of1(1)EquivalenceMagnitudeYes79100.014.65
of the order of2(2)EquivalenceApproximationYes47100.08.72
on22(12)ScaleThingAddedToYes5100.0413.76
on9(3a)-1ScaleValueBasisYes19100.01572.28
on a level with2(1a)EquivalencePeerYes16100.02.97
on a par with1(1)EquivalencePeerYes100100.018.55
on the order of1(1)EquivalenceApproximationYes3100.00.56
on the order of3(n)MathematicalComplexityDegreeYes1100.00.19
out of4(3)ScaleNumberReferencedSupersetYes27100.0342.63
outta4(3)ScaleNumberReferencedYes0100.00.19
over10(3)GreaterQuantitySurpassedApproximatorYes20100.0258.31
over5(2a)GreaterThingOutrankedScalar/RankYes2100.025.83
over7(2c)GreaterThingNotPreferredScalar/RankYes8100.0103.32
over8(2d)GreaterThingOutnumberedScalar/RankYes1100.012.92
over9(2e)GreaterDrownedSoundScalar/RankYes4100.051.66
over and above2(n)GreaterThingOutrankedYes7100.01.30
past5(3a)GreaterEntityLimitingYes30100.021.81
past6(n)GreaterQuantityAboveYes7100.05.09
per1(1)ScaleUnitReferenceValueYes243100.01197.55
plus1(1)MathematicalAmountAddedYes83100.0155.44
plus3(2)MathematicalDegreesApproximatorYes0100.01.87
relative to1(1)ScaleComparatorYes128100.064.20
short of1(1)LessStandardMissedYes71100.060.06
than1(1)ScaleComparatorScalar/RankYes0100.010.33
this side of2(1a)AgeAgeYes0100.00.19
this side of3(2)LessParagonYes9100.01.67
to11(4b)ScaleRatioDenominatorValueYes0100.0130.59
to12(4c)MathematicalExponentValueYes0100.0130.59
to16(8)LessDebitEntryYes0100.0130.59
to3(1b)ScaleRangeTerminusComparison/Contrast,EndState,EndTimeYes74100.09663.47
to the tune of1(1)EquivalenceSumYes76100.014.10
toward5(3)LessTargetOfSpendingFunctionYes8100.04.65
towards5(3)LessTargetOfSpendingFunctionYes16100.0158.00
under6(2c)LessNormSuperiorScalar/RankYes1100.022.64
under7(3)LessQuantityAboveApproximatorYes1100.022.64
underneath4(n)LessNormSuperiorYes2100.00.37
underneath5(n)LessQuantityAboveYes2100.00.37
up to3(2)LessLevelApproachedValueComparisonYes110100.0930.11
up to4(3)LessStandardStateYes6100.050.73
upon22(12)ScaleThingAddedToYes0100.011.33
upon9(3a)-1ScaleValueBasisYes6100.067.99
upward of1(1)GreaterQuantitySurpassedYes4100.00.74
upwards of1(1)GreaterQuantitySurpassedYes88100.016.32
vis-a-vis2(1a)ScaleComparatorYes21100.03.90
Total      40342