Senses of the Preposition "of"

(Source Files)

Table 1. Definitions from the Oxford Dictionary of English
Sense Definition Example Usages
1(1) expressing the relationship between a part and a whole
2(1a) with the word denoting the part functioning as the head of the phrase the sleeve of his coat; the lid of the box; in the back of the car; the days of the week; the best of all possible worlds
3(1b) after a number, quantifier, or partitive noun, with the word denoting the whole functioning as the head of the phrase nine of the children came to the show; a quarter of all homes; a series of programmes; a cartload of monkeys; (with mass noun) a piece of cake; a lot of money; a bottle of brandy; a cup of tea; a stretch of water
3(1b)-1 See lexicographer's analysis for new sense.
4(2) expressing the relationship between a scale or measure and a value an increase of 5; a height of 10 metres
5(2a) expressing an age a boy of 15
6(3) indicating an association between two entities, typically one of belonging, in which the first is the head of the phrase and the second is something associated with it the son of a friend; the government of India; the house of the master; the master of the house; a photograph of the bride; (with possessive) a former colleague of John's; a friend of his
6(3)-1 See lexicographer's analysis for new sense.
7(3a) expressing the relationship between an author, artist, or composer and their works collectively the plays of Shakespeare; the paintings of Rembrandt
8(4) expressing the relationship between a direction and a point of reference north of Watford; on the left of the picture
9(5) expressing the relationship between a general category and the thing being specified which belongs to such a category the city of Prague; the idea of a just society; the set of all genes; the population of interbreeding individuals
10(5a) governed by a noun expressing the fact that a category is vague this type of book; the general kind of answer that would satisfy me
11(6) expressing the relationship between an abstract concept having a verb-like meaning and a noun denoting the subject of the underlying verb the opinion of the directors; the decision of the County Council
12(6a) where the second noun denotes the object of the underlying verb the murder of two boys; payment of his debts; an admirer of Dickens
13(6b) where the head of the phrase is a predicative adjective it was kind of you to ask; I am certain of that
14(7) indicating the relationship between a verb and an indirect object
15(7a) with a verb expressing a mental state they must be persuaded of the severity of the problem; I don't know of anything that would be suitable; they were convicted of armed robbery
16(7b) expressing a cause he died of cancer
17(8) indicating the material or substance constituting something the house was built of bricks; walls of stone
18(9) expressing time in relation to the following hour it would be just a quarter of three in New York

Table 2. Lexicographer's Analysis
Sense Semantic Relation  Quirk Syntax Quirk Paragraph Other Prepositions Complement Properties Attachment Properties Subsense category and gloss Comments
1(1) Whole 1 9.54, 17.38       core See Quirk 17.39 concerning lexical factors in 'of' vs. genitive construction. Also Quirk 5.115-120 for all genitive constructions.
2(1a) Whole 1 5.115, 9.54, 17.38   object of which the POA is a part noun representing a part of the complement 2: specific to cases where POA is a part of the comp  
3(1b) Whole 1, 2a 5.19, 5.25, 9.54, 17.38, 17.50   object of which the POA is a part, piece, or sample number, quantifier, partitive noun 2: specific to cases of quantification  
3(1b)-1 Contents 1   contents of the POA noun denoting a container 3: extension to uniform contents (as opposed to constituents) See notes.
4(2) ScaleValue 1     a quantity or value, often numerical; otherwise a plural noun noun denoting scale or measure core I include here uses of 'of' after comparatives and superlatives, since some judgment of measure is usually implied: the silliest of the things he said, the more mature of the two.
5(2a) Age 1     number denoting age noun denoting a person 2: specific to scale of age in years  
6(3) Possessor 1 5.116, 5.126, 17.46   person or thing admitting of features, possessions, or representatives sth beleonging to, representing, or an inherent quality of the complement core  
6(3)-1 DefiningQuality 1, 3a 9.55 for a quality or defining characteristic nouns mainly denoting people or works 3: extension to notion of defining quality when in predicate, nearly always follows a copula. See notes.
7(3a) Creator 1 17.42, 17.46, 17.54 from, by an artist, writer, or other creator a created work or oeuvre 3: extension notion of creator  
8(4) ReferencePoint 1   from an object or place that exists in space noun or adj denoting direction core  
9(5) Species 1 9.60, 17.47,17.48, 17.54, 17.89 an exemplar or instance of the POA noun of general reference, admitting of types core  
10(5a) Exemplar 1 17.40   any noun categorical nouns: sort, type, kind, category 2: specific to extremely general categories  
11(6) Possessor 1 17.41, 17.42   noun representing the subj. of action denoted in the POA a verbal noun core See Quirk 17.41ff on direction of predication. This is often determined by whether the underlying verb-like meaning (as ODE calls it) is transitive or intransitive.
12(6a) Recipient 1 17.41, 17.49, 17.54   noun representing the obj. of action denoted in the POA usually a verbal noun; some adjs. included 2: specific to complements as objs  
13(6b) Concomitant 3b 8.85, 17.41 about, concerning, with regard to, with respect to, with reference to, on the part of no clear pattern; often an anaphor a predicate adj 2:specific to certain predicate adjs.  
14(7) Object 3a 16.2, 16.57   no clear pattern; depends on POA any of various verbs requiring 'of' for predication core sense is more or less empty in ODE; I've commandeered it for this set of verbs, except those falling under the two subsenses here.
15(7a) MentalContents 3a 16.2   content of the mental state expressed in the POA verb denoting a mental state or function 2: specific to verbs denoting mental states  
16(7b) Cause 3a 9.49n, 16.2 from, because of cause of the action denoted in the POA verb denoting action with a resultant 3: extension to the notion of cause included here: verbs that require 'of' for predication with a noun, such as reek, smell, stink, taste
17(8) Constituent 1 9.54, 9.61, 17.40   material that constitutes the POA noun denoting sth built or created core See notes.
18(9) Hour 1 till, before any of the 12 hours of the clock unit of time, in minutes or fraction of an hour core  


Table 3. Frame:FrameElement Pairs Associated with Each Sense
Sense Semantic Relation Attachment Properties
1(1) Whole No instances tagged with this core sense.
2(1a) Whole Clothing_parts:Clothing; Observable_bodyparts:Attachment; Part_edge:Whole; Part_inner_outer:Whole; Part_ordered_segments:Whole; Part_orientational:Whole; Part_whole:Whole
3(1b) Whole Aggregate:Individuals; Choosing:Possibilities; Ingestion:Ingestibles; Measure_duration:Process; Measure_linear_extent:Stuff; Measure_mass:Stuff; Part_piece:Substance; Quantity:Individuals; Quantity:Mass; Text:Containing_text
3(1b)-1 Contents Containers:Contents; Measure_area:Occupant; Measure_volume:Count; Measure_volume:Stuff
4(2) ScaleValue Change_position_on_a_scale:Difference; Commerce:Money; Desirability:Comparison_set; Dimension:Measurement; Dimension:Object; First_rank:Contrast_set; Morality_evaluation:Behavior
5(2a) Age People:Age
6(3) Possessor Accoutrements:Wearer; Behind_the_scenes:Production; Being_employed:Employer; Being_employed:Place_of_employment; Biological_area:Container_possessor; Biological_area:Relative_location; Businesses:Place; Businesses:Proprietor; Catastrophe:Place; Catastrophe:Undergoer; Chemical-sense_description:Source; Clothing:Wearer; Collaboration:Partner_2; Communication_response:Speaker; Containers:Owner; Custom:Place; Custom:Protagonist; Custom:Society; Duplication:Original; Education_teaching:Institution; Education_teaching:Student; Education_teaching:Teacher; Expertise:Behavior_product; Expertise:Knowledge; Expertise:Protagonist; Facial_expression:Possessor; Frugality:Resource_controller; Gizmo:User; Health_response:Protagonist; Hostile_encounter:Side_1; Hostile_encounter:Sides; Imitation:Original; Kinship:Ego; Leadership:Jurisdiction; Name_bearing:Entity; Natural_features:Container_possessor; Natural_features:Name; Natural_features:Relative_location; Observable_bodyparts:Possessor; People:Origi n; Personal_relationship:Partner_2; Possession:Owner; Prevarication:Speaker; Process_end:Process; Questioning:Speaker; Request:Speaker; Residence:Co_resident; Rite:Leader; Rite:Organization; Sensation:Source; Sleep:Sleeper; Speak_on_topic:Speaker; Statement:Speaker; Travel:Traveler; Word_relations:Sign_2
6(3)-1 DefiningQuality Facial_expression:Conveyed_emotion; Facial_expression:Internal_cause; Leadership:Depictive; People:Persistent_characteristic
7(3a) Creator Text:Author
8(4) ReferencePoint No instances tagged with this core sense.
9(5) Species Accoutrements:Descriptor; Being_employed:Field; Being_employed:Type; Biological_urge:Reason; Body_decoration:Picture; Breathing:Air; Businesses:Business_Name; Calendric_unit:Whole; Catastrophe:Time; Catastrophe:Undesirable_Event; Change_of_leadership:Selector; Change_position_on_a_scale:Attribute; Chatting:Interlocutors; Chatting:Topic; Clothing:Descriptor; Clothing:Use; Collaboration:Undertaking; Custom:Behavior; Custom:Domain; Desiring:Event; Desiring:Focal_participant; Discussion:Interlocutors; Education_teaching:Subject; Emotion_directed:Stimulus; Emotion_directed:Topic; Encoding:Message; Expertise:Skill; Frugality:Behavior; Gizmo:Use; Hostile_encounter:Issue; Hostile_encounter:Location; Hostile_encounter:Manner; Hostile_encounter:Time; Judgment_communication:Reason; Light_movement:Beam; Likelihood:Event; Location_of_light:Cause_of_shine; Location_of_light:Figure; Location_of_light:Light; Mental_property:Behavior; Name_bearing:Name; Notification_of_charges:Charges; Observable_bodyparts:Descriptor; Omen:Phenomenon_2; People:Descriptor; People:Ethnicity; Perception_active:Manner; Prevarication:Topic; Prison:Location; Process_continue:Event; Process_start:Event; Residence:Location; Rewards_and_punishments:Reason; Rewards_and_punishments:Response_action; Rite:Desired_state; Rite:Type; Roadways:Area; Sensation:Percept; Skill_test:Skill; Sleep:Duration; Social_event:Host; Speak_on_topic:Time; Statement:Message; Statement:Topic; Subject_stimulus:Stimulus; Text:Text; Text:Time_of_creation; Text:Topic; Topic:Text; Topic:Topic; Travel:Duration; Travel:Period_of_Iterations; Travel:Purpose; Travel:Time; Verdict:Case
10(5a) Exemplar Instance:Type; Type:Category
11(6) Possessor Arriving:Theme; Attempt:Agent; Attention:Perceiver; Avoiding:Agent; Awareness:Cognizer; Biological_urge:Experiencer; Biological_urge:Expressor; Breathing:Agent; Categorization:Cognizer; Certainty:Cognizer; Cogitation:Cognizer; Collaboration:Partner_1; Collaboration:Partners; Coming_to_believe:Cognizer; Compatibility:Item_1; Compatibility:Items; Compliance:Protagonist; Contrition:Experiencer; Death:Protagonist; Desiring:Experiencer; Differentiation:Cognizer; Emotion_directed:Expressor; Experiencer_subj:Experiencer; Finish_competition:Competitor; Forming_relationships:Partner_1; Forming_relationships:Partners; Impact:Impactor; Impact:Impactors; Importance:Factor; Invention:Cognizer; Judgment:Cognizer; Judgment_communication:Communicator; Judgment_direct_address:Communicator; Perception_active:Perceiver_agentive; Personal_relationship:Partner_1; Personal_relationship:Partners; Process_stop:Process; Recovery:Patient; Revenge:Avenger; Rewards_and_punishments:Agent; Scrutiny:Cognizer; Statement:Medium; Subject_stimulus:Experiencer; Sufficiency:Item; Theft:Perpetrator; Travel:Mode_of_transportation; Verdict:Judge
12(6a) Recipient Arrest:Suspect; Avoiding:Undesirable_situation; Awareness:Content; Awareness:Topic; Becoming_aware:Phenomenon; Birth:Child; Building:Components; Building:Created_entity; Categorization:Item; Cause_change_of_scalar_position:Item; Cause_expansion:Item; Change_position_on_a_scale:Item; Choosing:Chosen; Cogitation:Topic; Coming_to_believe:Content; Commerce:Goods; Commerce_buy:Goods; Communicate_categorization:Item; Compliance:Norm; Cotheme:Cotheme; Cure:Affliction; Cure:Patient; Differentiation:Phenomena; Emotion_directed:Experiencer; Emptying:Source; Execution:Executed; Expansion:Item; Experiencer_subj:Content; Finish_competition:Competition; Finish_competition:Opponent; Finish_competition:Prize; Firing:Employee; Hostile_encounter:Side_2; Judgment:Evaluee; Judgment:Reason; Judgment_communication:Evaluee; Judgment_direct_address:Addressee; Judgment_direct_address:Reason; Kidnapping:Victim; Killing:Victim; Manufacturing:Product; Memory:Topic; Offenses:Victim; Path_shape:Path; Perception_active:Phenomenon; Placing:Theme; Possession:Possession; Questioning:Addressee; Quitting:Employee; Rape:Victim; Removing:Source; Removing:Theme; Request:Addressee; Rewards_and_punishments:Evaluee; Rite:Member; Rite:New_Status; Rite:Object; Robbery:Source; Scrutiny:Ground; Scrutiny:Phenomenon; Sensation:Ground; Sign:Indicated; Smuggling:Goods; Social_event:Occasion; Social_interaction_evaluation:Affected_party; Telling:Topic; Theft:Goods; Verdict:Defendant
13(6b) Concomitant Abundance:Theme; Certainty:Content; Fairness_evaluation:Actor; Mental_property:Protagonist; Morality_evaluation:Evaluee; Sociability:Company; Social_interaction_evaluation:Evaluee; Social_interaction_evaluation:Expressor; Strictness:Controllee; Strictness:Issue
14(7) Object Being_born:Relatives; Coming_to_believe:Topic; Communication_manner:Topic; Emptying:Theme; Hear:Message; Questioning:Topic; Robbery:Goods; Suasion:Content; Telling:Message
15(7a) MentalContents Certainty:Topic; Contrition:Action; Invention:Invention
16(7b) Cause Appearance:Characterization; Appearance:Inference; Dead_or_alive:Cause; Death:Cause; Verdict:Charges
17(8) Constituent Accoutrements:Material; Businesses:Service_provider; Clothing:Garment; Clothing:Material; Containers:Material; Hair_configuration:Hair; Invention:Material; Manufacturing:Resource; Measure_area:Area; Natural_features:Constituent_parts; Part_ordered_segments:Part_prop; Shapes:Substance; Text:Components; Travel:Area
18(9) Hour No instances tagged with this sense.
Table 4. Other Prepositions with Same Frame:FrameElement in FrameNet Corpus
Sense Semantic Relation Other Prepositions
1(1) Whole No instances tagged with this core sense.
2(1a) Whole on; of; for; in; to; from; along; at; around; beneath; between; over; under; off
3(1b) Whole of; between; on; upon; at; through; about; in; for; from; to
3(1b)-1 Contents of; with; for
4(2) ScaleValue by; to; at; of; from; among; in; for; between; up; about
5(2a) Age below; of; over; from; under; aged; between; in; at
6(3) Possessor on; of; for; from; in; by; to; at; with; abroad; along; between; near; beside; above; around; behind; beneath; inside; over; within; among; humberside; liverpool; newcastle; under; about; amongst; back; outside; below; off; through; next; underneath; high; just; beyond; throughout; close; up; helen; into; as
6(3)-1 DefiningQuality of; at; without; with
7(3a) Creator by; of; from; on
8(4) ReferencePoint No instances tagged with this core sense.
9(5) Species with; of; from; on; in; within; because; for; at; as; by; among; per; between; amongst; to; about; my; one; sex; what; upon; against; over; a; after; towards; regarding; big; through; not; around; concerning; near; off; along; outside; during; throughout; before; that; under; o'; like; inside; across; next; down; without; close; here; amidst; fairly; below; the; above; adjacent; an; high; just; upstream; shrewsbury; behind; beside; beyond; until; such; relating; pertaining; into; elsewhere; till; mainly; later
10(5a) Exemplar of
11(6) Possessor of; by; from; for; among; on; in; to; between; about; over; amongst; within; both; with; under; b; through; ln; at; aboard
12(6a) Recipient of; from; on; including; out; about; round; to; as; at; such; in; against; toward; more; concerning; with; over; for; into; like; entirely; between; within; upon; particularly; that; the; both; after; a; an; behind; far; by; among; through; amongst; towards; onto; due; either; something; because; japanese; unto; his; answers; across; back; up; down; right; along; under; via; alongside; past; heavily; around; beyond; sharply; off; places; away; clean; beneath
13(6b) Concomitant with; in; of; by; about; as; concerning; on; over; upon; for; to; towards; from
14(7) Object into; of; about; in; on; over; regarding; as; at; for; concerning; after; from; against; towards
15(7a) MentalContents about; in; on; with; concerning; over; of; regarding; at; for; into; as
16(7b) Cause as; like; just; of; with; in; more; the; at; rather; from; after; by; because; on; for
17(8) Constituent of; in; into; from; out; with; against; by; all; near; throughout; on; across; round; around; through; inside; within; along; amongst; up
18(9) Hour No other prepositions identified.

This document maintained by Ken Litkowski.

Copyright ©2005 CL Research, Orin Hargraves, Ken Litkowski