Temporal Prepositions

(Under Development)


This discussion of the temporal class of prepositions is based on an examination of the temporal senses identified in The Preposition Project (TPP) with the Pattern Dictionary of English Prepositions (PDEP), along with sections 9.33 to 9.42 in Quirk et al. There are 62 temporal senses under 50 prepositions. Temporal prepositions establish a temporal relationship between the complement and some other sentence element, sometimes the governor and sometimes the subject or some other object. A temporal prepositional phrase usually occurs as an adjunct, a postmodifier, or predication adjunct; occasionally, the phrase itself can be the complement of a temporal preposition. Temporal prepositions can be divided into two main subclasses: time position and duration. (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.)

Time Position Dimensions

The most basic time element expresses the time when some event takes place. In the temporal patterns used to express time points, the preposition complement has the ontological category Time Point. The time point may be specified as:

These time points are almost always put into some specific relationship, with the preposition itself contributing the element of meaning and with the governor of the prepositional phrase standing in this relation to the event time, including:

Duration Dimensions

Durative prepositions answer the question How long? and describe a period of time. In the temporal paterns used to express duration, the preposition complement has the ontological category Time Period. Durative prepositions fall into the following subcategories:

Selection Criteria

For the most part, temporal 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.time or noun.event. Others can be recognized by using the part of speech (pos) cd (i.e., recognizing cardinal numbers) or vbg (i.e., participial ing phrases expressing events). Since temporal 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. 687-95.

Comments to: Ken Litkowski  Modified: January 01 2017 13:46:42.

PDEP Temporal Class (93 senses)
PrepositionSenseSubclassSrtypeSupersenseClassedCountPctNF
\'gainst4(2)PrecedingEventInFutureYes0100.00.19
\'pon17(8)SimpleTimeDayTimeYes0100.00.19
\'pon18(8a)SimpleTimeOccasionTimeYes0100.00.19
about6(n)SimpleTimeTimePointYes2100.089.35
across1(1)-1PeriodPeriodTraversedDurationYes4100.021.64
afore1(1)PrecedingTimePointDeicticTime,RelativeTimeYes1100.00.19
after1(1)FollowingTimePeriodRelativeTimeYes142100.04463.68
after2(1a)PeriodPeriodRepeatedFrequencyYes1100.031.43
after3(1b)FollowingHourClockTimeCxnYes0100.031.43
after4(1c)PeriodThingDepartingYes15100.0471.52
against4(2)PrecedingEventInFutureYes16100.0342.97
agin4(2)PrecedingEventInFutureYes0100.00.19
ahead of2(1a)PeriodPartyAnticipatingYes10100.07.26
ahead of3(1b)PrecedingEventAfterRelativeTimeYes92100.066.76
along2(1a)PeriodPathOfProgressYes12100.061.87
alongside3(1b)PeriodCoexistantYes83100.096.50
around6(n)SimpleTimeTimePointTimeYes24100.0160.23
as2(2)PeriodTimePeriodYes2100.0243.27
as far as2(n)SimpleTime:OriginTimePointYes6100.07.70
as from1(1)SimpleTime:OriginTimeOriginYes71100.013.17
as of1(1)SimpleTimeTimePointYes70100.031.94
at2(2)SimpleTimeTimePointTimeYes122100.09420.06
at3(2a)PeriodTimePeriodTimeYes7100.0540.50
at4(2b)PeriodPeriodOfActivityProfessionalAspectYes13100.01003.78
before1(1)PrecedingTimePointDeicticTime,RelativeTimeYes192100.02966.13
between2(2)PeriodTimePeriodRelativeTimeYes31100.01353.96
betwixt2(2)PeriodTimePeriodRelativeTimeYes0100.00.19
beyond4(2)FollowingTimePointRelativeTimeYes21100.088.22
by17(4)SimpleTime:FinishedTimeTargetedRelativeTimeYes31100.03695.66
by20(6)PeriodTimePeriodTemporalYes3100.0357.64
circa1(1)SimpleTimeTimePointApproximator,TimeYes0100.00.19
come1(1)PrecedingTimePointYes0100.00.19
down5(2)PeriodTimePeriodDurationYes9100.013.12
during1(1)PeriodTimePeriodDurationYes181100.03697.33
during2(1a)SimpleTimeEventInTimeDurationYes69100.01409.48
ere1(1)PrecedingTimePointYes1100.00.19
following1(1)FollowingTimePointYes243100.0128.37
for12(10)PeriodTimePeriodDeicticTime,DurationYes59100.09380.00
fore1(1)PrecedingTimePointDeicticTime,RelativeTimeYes0100.00.19
frae3(2)SimpleTime:OriginTimePointStartTimeYes0100.00.19
frae5(3a)SimpleTime:OriginTimePointStartTimeYes0100.00.19
from3(2)SimpleTime:OriginTimePointStartTimeYes28100.02337.69
from5(3a)SimpleTime:OriginTimePointStartTimeYes1100.083.49
gone1(1)FollowingHourYes0100.00.19
in3(2)PeriodTimeframeDeicticTime,TimeYes88100.032646.75
in4(3)PeriodTimeLaterDeicticTimeYes0100.0370.99
in advance of1(1)PrecedingTimePointYes230100.051.03
in front of4(n)PeriodPartyAnticipatingYes3100.03.32
in the course of1(1)PeriodTimeframeYes189100.0137.71
in the course of2(2)SimpleTimeEventInTimeYes61100.044.45
inside5(2)PeriodTimePeriodDeicticTimeYes0100.01.71
inside of2(1a)PeriodTimePeriodYes0100.00.19
into1(1)-1PeriodThingPeriodDurationYes16100.0421.30
mid2(1a)PeriodEventInTimeYes0100.00.19
near2(2)PrecedingTimePointTimeYes6100.032.02
near to2(2)PrecedingTimePointYes17100.04.49
nigh2(2)PrecedingTimePointYes0100.00.19
o\'18(9)PrecedingHourClockTimeCxnYes0100.00.00
o\'er14(5)PeriodPeriodEnduringDurationYes0100.00.00
of18(9)PrecedingHourClockTimeCxnYes0100.0247.32
on17(8)SimpleTimeDayTimeYes139100.011502.44
on18(8a)SimpleTimeOccasionTimeYes14100.01158.52
on the stroke of1(1)SimpleTimeTimePointYes10100.01.85
over14(5)PeriodPeriodEnduringDurationYes137100.01769.42
past3(2)FollowingEventInTimeClockTimeCxn,RelativeTimeYes35100.025.45
pending1(1)PrecedingEventArisingYes242100.074.70
preparatory to1(1)PrecedingEventInFutureYes21100.03.90
previous to1(1)PrecedingTimePointYes20100.03.71
prior to1(1)PrecedingTimePointYes249100.0276.76
round9(n)PeriodTimePeriodYes8100.013.43
round about1(1)SimpleTimeTimePointYes22100.04.08
since1(1)SimpleTime:OriginTimePointRelativeTime,StartTimeYes242100.02035.82
subsequent to1(1)FollowingTimePointYes55100.010.20
this side of1(1)PrecedingTimePointYes15100.02.78
thro\'11(4)SimpleTime:FinishedTimePointEndTimeYes0100.00.02
thro\'7(2)PeriodTimePeriodDurationYes0100.00.02
through11(4)SimpleTime:FinishedTimePointEndTimeYes6100.074.73
through7(2)PeriodTimePeriodDurationYes34100.0423.45
throughout2(1a)PeriodTimePeriodDurationYes121100.0642.55
thru11(4)SimpleTime:FinishedTimePointEndTimeYes1100.00.19
thru7(2)PeriodTimePeriodDurationYes0100.00.19
till1(1)PrecedingTimePointEndTimeYes233100.095.08
to4(1c)PrecedingHourClockTimeCxnYes1100.0130.59
toward3(1b)PrecedingTimeApproachedRelativeTimeYes9100.05.24
towards3(1b)PrecedingTimeApproachedRelativeTimeYes15100.0148.12
under9(4a)PeriodTimePeriodStateYes13100.0294.29
until1(1)PrecedingTimePointEndTimeYes248100.01807.89
unto2(2)PrecedingTimePointYes7100.01.30
up to2(1a)SimpleTime:FinishedTimePointEndTimeYes28100.0236.75
upon17(8)SimpleTimeDayTimeYes0100.011.33
upon18(8a)SimpleTimeOccasionTimeYes7100.079.32
while1(1)PrecedingTimePointYes0100.00.19
within6(3)PeriodTimePeriodDeicticTimeYes38100.0808.21
Total      98222.8