I don't get the meaning of the example expression "I am parked out back." in bold below. Does this mean "I'm in my car and somebody parked just behind me?"

In linguistics, predicate transfer[1] is the reassignment of a property to an object which would not otherwise inherently have that property. Thus, the expression "I am parked out back" conveys the meaning of "parked" from "car" to the property of "I possess a car". This avoids incorrect polysemous interpretations of "parked": that "people can be parked", or that "I am pretending to be a car", or that "I am something which can be parked". This is supported by the morphology: "We are parked out back" does not mean that there are multiple cars; rather, that there are multiple passengers (having the property of being in possession of a car).


EDIT Sorry, now that I got the meaning of the phrase, I don't get the part "conveys the meaning of 'parked' from 'car' to the property of 'I possess a car'". "Convey" is usually used like "convey [some message] to [somebody], right? It doesn't make sense when I try to understand the phrase this way. Could anyone explain the meaning of this? Or should I post this as another question?

EDIT I found that "convey" has another meaning that is "transport or carry to a place," but it doesn't still make sense.

Does this

the expression "I am parked out back" conveys the meaning of "parked" from "car" to the property of "I possess a car"

mean this?:

the expression "I am parked out back" transfer the meaning of "parked" from "car" to the property that is "I possess a car"

Property that is "I possess a car" of what? There's not a phrase "I possess a car" in the original example "I am parked out back"?

  • 2
    It simply means the person has parked their car at the back (of a house/place).
    – BiscuitBoy
    Jan 12, 2016 at 12:20
  • 2
    It means "My car is parked behind [this building]". As I am sure the author explains, this is informal and context-dependent. Jan 12, 2016 at 12:21
  • Could you explain how that works? Does "I" refer to the speaker's car? And why "out?"
    – stacko
    Jan 12, 2016 at 13:28
  • 1
    "Out" is idiomatic. If he were parked on the front side of the building it would be "I'm parked in front", but when behind the building either "parked out back" or "parked in the back" might be said (with "out back" probably being more common).
    – Hot Licks
    Jan 12, 2016 at 13:44
  • Although Wikipedia is more reliable than most give it credit for, this particular article is too confusing to be useful. "I am parked out back" simply means that there is a place to park behind a particular building, and that's where my car is parked. The only sensible thing I can get from the Wikipedia article is that "I am parked" is used to contract to three words the two ideas that "I parked my car, and it is parked (out back)." In other words, I myself am not literally parked, as I would be if I said "I was parked on the couch in front of the TV all day." Jan 12, 2016 at 18:02

1 Answer 1


As I understand the current version (edit #5) of your question, you are asking how a phrase like "I am parked out back" can turn into "I possess a car".

Here's a context that would fit the original phrase: there's a building with a rear car park. The speaker has parked his car in the car park and walked into the building. Inside the building, the speaker says, "I am parked out back".

Since the speaker is standing in the building rather than behind it, it is obvious that he isn't literally "parked out back". So what is? His car. In this context, the phrase 'property of "I possess a car"' just means that possessing a car is one of the properties of the speaker, alongside, e.g. is tall, is looking for lunch, possesses a wallet, etc.

We can now tackle your quote:

the expression "I am parked out back" conveys the meaning of "parked" from "car" to the property of "I possess a car"

This means that the expression "I am parked out back" moves the meaning of "parked" from a reference to the car to an implication that the speaker possesses a car.

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