Treatment of “in”


The DIMAP preposition dictionary has one small defect; sense 5 (4 in ODE) is missing. The sense numbering is the same between DIMAP and ODE. The ODE sense inventory has some serious gaps (see below).


There is considerable variability with sense assignments within the same frame element and frame with in, which could indicate a number of things. First, and perhaps most innocently, the great versatility of in and its compulsory use in many fixed phrases where it has no literal meaning. Secondly, and slightly more sinisterly, the possibility the FrameNet labels multiple elements with the same name that are in fact semantically quite distinct. Thirdly, and perhaps equally problematic, is the possibility that the ODE sense division is eccentric and erratic, and doesn’t reflect reality very elegantly. A good place to observe this is, e.g., the frame elements Behavior, Circumstances, or Depictive. I am inclined to think that the third hypothesis is mainly the case. With a preposition stretched as thin as in is in English, I think it might be more sensible to divide senses by asking, "what sort of question does this in PP answer?" There are sense that answer "where" questions, "when" questions, "how" questions, and a number of other more specific queries.


Notes from the spreadsheet:


New sense added: (Spreadsheet record 3) Because it is so common and easily identifiable, I have split off (where ODE lumps with the “enclosing” sense) cases of in PPs used to introduce someone’s clothing: a woman in a red dress, a man dressed in a suit, etc. The complements and POAs are internally consistent and limited in scope. This is subsumed under sense 1.


New Sense added: (Spreadsheet record 9) This is a convenient place to put several more or less fixed idioms that begin with “in” for no compelling reason and indicate manner or degree: in the extreme, in more/greater detail, in large/huge numbers, in droves, in a X position. . . They correspond mainly to FrameElement(s) Degree, Depictive, Path, and Direction (the latter two because I put here PPs that are a variation of "in the direction of" or "in x('s) direction).


New Sense added: (Spreadsheet record 13) In is required in a number of set descriptions for clothing and other personal items, and none of the standing senses incorporates this sense: a blouse in turquoise, do those come in cotton?, trousers in houndstooth check. These seem to me to be closest in meaning to the Medium sense, under which I have classified them. The affected frames are Descriptor and Material.


Other instances of in  that may deserve idiomatic treatment

All of the phrases in ODE deserve a look, at least as a way of separating them from genuine in PPs. There are probably some inheritance possibilities. in that  is also discussed by Quirk (¶14.12) as a "complex subordinator." There is one instance of it in the instances file which I labeled simply as (in that); it is also a mistaken instance, in that it does not exemplify the element ("Standard") attached to it in FrameNet.


There are a handful of PPs in FrameNet in which way, modified or not, is the complement of  in. Most of these are classed under the newly created sense Manner_or_Degree. The presence of way is a pretty good marker for this:  in a way, in various ways, in this/that/some other way.


Other Notes:

Though I have made a minor split sense 1(1) it is still something of an omnibus, since it admits of both physical and figurative "location within." Thus, a number of emotions (see, e.g., Frame Expressor) I have assigned to sense 1(1), since our use of in in these cases is normally a reflection of our perception that a person contains an emotion.


Also in the case of sense 1(1) and its subsense 2(1a): ODE seems to make a distinction between the two based on whether motion is involved, but I think this is largely a false distinction, and for many verbs, the senses can be treated as equivalent. FrameNet identifies a POA as a verb whether it is used finitely, or adjectivally as a participle. The result is that sometimes the "verb" indicates situation, e.g. when a past participle is used adjectivally (that would be sense 1(1)) and sometimes the verb indicates motion, when it is the main finite verb in the sentence: this would be sense 2(1a). Example: verb pack. The pickles look delightful, packed in small jars. That's sense 1(1). Wash off the cucumbers and pack them in small jars. That's sense 2(1a).


I classified in PPs following confide under sense 2(1a) in order to avoid devising yet another new sense. This isn't exactly satisfactory, but is the closest sense in the ODE sense inventory. confide is one in that class of almost "paraphrasal" verbs for which usage dictates a very limited range — sometimes only one — of following PPs for complementation.


Similarly, in PPs that predicate delight have been classed under sense 7(5): not because it's an exact fit, but close enough that its better than more sense proliferation. 7(5) is already somewhat expanded in my conception; see notes on the spreadsheet.


I should note that my conception of sense 7(5), which I call FramingEntity, is quite a lot larger than ODE's. This is one of in's major uses, and is in some respects a figurative extension of the locative sense, since we use in to describe the situation of someone or something involved in or participating in things that do not actually have spatial dimensions.


The following records were for “into,” not “in,” and was deleted from the instances file:


Impact              Cause   bang.v              V-730-s20-ppinto        871597-76

Departing         Goal     withdraw.v                   V-730-ppinto   601908-81

Amalgamation   Manner            fuse.v               V-730-s20-ppinto        704772-117

Self_motion      Manner            sneak.v             V-ppinto          757247-42

Cause_fluidic_motion    Reason squirt.v             V-570-np-ppinto          266047-99


There are a few records in the data for PPs with "in terms of" rather than simply "in." I have left these in and coded them, because in this case, "in terms of" can easily inherit from sense 9(7), "Medium" (though admittedly with my somewhat expanded notion of it). Those records are:


Encoding          Manner            couch.v            9(7)      V-np-ppin_terms_of     1145730-97

Encoding          Manner            formulate.v       9(7)      V-np-ppin_terms_of     1146477-130

Encoding          Manner            frame.v 9(7)      V-np-ppin_terms_of     1146979-40


However: it's conceivable that some "in terms of" phrases would inherit from 6(4a), "Attribute," so I don't think I would call this inheritance universal.


I do not find the record for


Test_the_test    Cognizer           symbolize.v       V-ppin 348891-65


in the data.


Finally, I have labeled a few records "adverbial," where in is in fact not the head of a PP but rather an attached verb particle. In these few cases, the object of the verb has been mistakenly construed as the object of in, which it is not.