Talk:now

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While now is traditionally called an adverb, it is better analysed as a preposition. The standard definition of a preposition ("prepositions are always followed by a noun, noun phrase, or nominalization.") is seriously flawed. What about being followed by adverbs other prepositions, etc.? Or being followed by nothing at all?

Put it in there.
That's enough for now.
It came from within.
He came out from behind the curtain.
I was totally confused as to how it could have happened.
I worked there until recently.
Let's talk about whether we can do it or not.

No other word class changes simply by virtue of having a complement or not. Verbs are transitive or intransitive, and so are prepositions.

Thus, prepositions are a relatively closed class of words with no productive morphological process for forming them. The most central members typically express spacial relations or serve to mark various syntactic functions and semantic roles. They can be transitive or intransitive. (See the Cambridge Grammar of the English Language, Ch 7) Now fits this definition.

In 2, it is still a preposition, although it's functioning as an adjunct discourse connective. --Brett 02:57, 2 August 2006 (UTC)

  • So you analyse "out" in "come out" as a preposition, and then "now" in "come now" is also a preposition because it fulfills the same kind of function? Personally, if it was a preposition, I would expect it to be at least possible to put a noun or something after it to make an adverbial phrase. Also it would simplify matters if we followed the main wiktionary's lead on these things. Anyway, revert my change if you wish, and we can mention it at the wiktionary talk page for community input (assuming anyone else has an opinion, LOL). Kappa 22:49, 2 August 2006 (UTC)
Yes and no. Yes, now is a preposition, but it's important not to confuse the way the word is functioning in phrase structure with the word class. For example, as Geoffrey Pullum put it in an e-mail to me, "although adverbs often act as adjuncts in clauses and in adjective phrases, other kinds of words can do the same. In the harder they fall, we have the as a determinative functioning as a pre-head modifier in an adjective phrase the way adverbs often function. That does NOT mean the is an adverb!"
It would simplify things if we followed the main witionary's lead, but it wouldn't always make things better for our audience.--Brett 01:57, 3 August 2006 (UTC)
Though I admit that I haven't looked over the entry itself yet, I thought I'd throw my two cents in here. I think that now serves as an adverb in most cases (We will now go to the store) like tomorrow and other adverbs of time, and perhaps as a preposition in others. However, when a preposition follows a verb (as in "come out"), it is often but not always acting as a part of the verb, making it phrasal. I personally define prepositions as words which connect nouns (etc.) to the rest of the sentence. But I do think you have a point regarding being followed by adverbs (as in, "from now on"). I've also tried to define it as a word which shows the relationship between two or more things (I am between the chairs), but found that to be much too narrow ("according to Bob" doesn't fit, for example). In the case of prepositions following verbs (e.g. He went in), most of them are a part of the phrasal verb and in that context do not require an object. When they are not part of the verb that they follow (e.g. It is the document I want in writing), they always have objects, as far as I can tell, even if that object is an adverb.
Your examples are interesting, but mostly unconvincing:
  • Put it in there.
"There" is a demonstrative pronoun in this case, which substitutes for a noun such as "the cupboard".
  • That's enough for now.
"For" is not always a preposition. Is it one here?
  • It came from within.
"From within" is another prepositional phrase, and here the noun is understood ("within Betty" or "within her heart", perhaps).
  • He came out from behind the curtain.
"Out from behind" is not three prepositions, it is a single prepositional phrase, with "curtain" as its object.
  • I was totally confused as to how it could have happened.
"How it could have happened" is a subordinate clause which acts as a noun (as in, "How it could have happened is that John came in...."). Additionally, "as to" is a single prepositional phrase, which you could easily replace with "regarding" (a preposition).
  • I worked there until recently.
This seems to be another prep + adv.
  • Let's talk about whether we can do it or not.
This is another subordinate clause, which also acts like a noun.
I really like the discussion! I agree that sometimes we must place our audience before the example of EWikt. Let's make this wiktionary GREAT! --Cromwellt|talk|contribs 03:31, 3 August 2006 (UTC)