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I got these examples from the COCA. Which, if any, strike you as prepositions?

  1. Compared to ICS alone, there was a significantly greater improvement in FEV1 with the addition of LABA.
  2. Compared to the United States, there is greater interest in exchange of ideas and in cooperative research on political education in Western and Central European countries, where academic interest has not waned.
  3. Compared to the Femmes au jardin there is an amplitude here which is a function of the domesticity Monet has meant to parse.
  4. Compared to other poets of the period, there is much to recommend the totality of her work.
  5. I like Foursquare because I can actually pick who sees where I actually am, compared to Facebook, where I have 1,200 friends
  6. But part of the beauty of the nuclear path, compared to all the energy-farming approaches, is you don't have a problem with location
  7. These differences may explain why HCV is higher among whites compared to African Americans in incarcerated populations, compared to the opposite effect in general populations.
  8. In each panel, the shaded bar (male respondents' ratings) is higher when the lesbian thermometer was administered first, compared to when the gay male thermometer came first.
  9. That he is not free -- apparently, pending appeal -- to deliver this message at funerals does not infringe on this nation's legacy of free speech to any significant degree, at least not compared to the relief it brings the entirely innocent families of the fallen at their moment of greatest grief.
  10. Second, compared to the solution state, molecular mobility is much reduced.
  11. Not one of these programs increased their licensed capacity, compared to an average increase from 11.1 to 29.6 in the funded grantee group.
  12. There is a leftward shift in the recovery curve, compared to controls.
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Now that you've given all of these examples, is there a point to this question? It just seems like a homework exercise (I know it isn't) at this point. –  simchona Jan 5 '12 at 2:54
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Perhaps you should explain what, to you, defines a preposition and what a dangling participle, because, at this level of depth, no ordinary definitions will do. –  Cerberus Jan 5 '12 at 3:00
    
The point is simply to help me figure out the difference between a dangling participle and a preposition. Participles require a predicand and prepositions don't. From what I can see, compared doesn't have a predicand in these sentences. So if they're grammatical, then it must be a preposition; if it's a participle, they must be ungrammatical. It think they're mostly grammatical, but I'd like to see if the community agrees. –  Brett Reynolds Jan 5 '12 at 11:54
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closed as not constructive by simchona, Dusty, jwpat7, kiamlaluno, Mitch Jan 12 '12 at 18:36

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2 Answers

Unlike Fumblefingers, I don’t see compared to as a preposition, even though to is. Compared is the past participle of compare, and in each of the examples it has the passive force which is one of the functions of the form.

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OP hasn't clarified exactly what he defines as a preposition, so I'll just go with a simplified version of Google's

[a term] governing...a noun...and expressing a relation to another [noun].

...which is what compared to (hereinafter, CP) does in every one of OP's examples. Either of the "nouns" may actually a statement in its own right, but I'll just call them A and B.

For stylistic reasons, several sentences are CP B, A, but you can easily re-order them to A CP B.

I can't see any real problem identifying which words in each sentence represent my A and B, but taking #10 for example...

Second, compared to the solution state, molecular mobility is much reduced.

..."Second" is just an irrelevant continuation from some preceding statement. A = molecular mobility is much reduced and B = [the molecular mobility of] the solution state.

The sentences obviously tend to contain parenthetical statements that are irrelevant to analysis of the role played by "compared to", because they weren't written as examples for such analysis. There's no real point in going through each one in detail - they all seem much the same to me.

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