This ques­tion is specif­i­cally for those who are fa­mil­iar with the 2002 edi­tion of The Cam­bridge Gram­mar of the English Lan­guage by Hud­dle­ston and Pul­lum.

The book has this pas­sage at page 272:

Strictly speak­ing, an in­tran­si­tive prepo­si­tion may have a com­ple­ment other than an ob­ject NP – e.g. ow­ing in ow­ing to the rain has a PP com­ple­ment. In this sec­tion, how­ever, we will be con­cerned only with in­tran­si­tive prepo­si­tions that have ei­ther no com­ple­ment at all or else a pred­ica­tive, as in That counts [as sat­is­fac­tory].

The book also says that prepo­si­tions can take fi­nite clauses as com­ple­ments as fol­lows:

They ig­nored the ques­tion [of whether it was eth­i­cal]. (page 641)

Here, does the book con­sider the of a transitive preposition (because it takes a clause as a com­ple­ment) or an in­tran­si­tive prepo­si­tion (be­cause it doesn't take an ob­ject NP)?

Also, how about verbs tak­ing fi­nite clauses as non-ob­ject com­ple­ments?

The book on pages 1017–1018:

In the present sub­sec­tion we turn our at­ten­tion to con­tent clauses func­tion­ing as in­ter­nal com­ple­ment to a verb, as in He feared that he might lose his job ([16i]). Tra­di­tional gram­mar not only anal­y­ses the sub­or­di­nate clause here as a noun clause, but as­signs it the same func­tion as that of the NP in He feared the prospect of un­em­ploy­ment, namely that of ob­ject of the verb. Again, how­ever, we be­lieve that the sub­or­di­nate clause is not suf­ficiently like an NP to jus­tify that anal­y­sis.

The feared both in He feared that he might lose his job and in He feared the prospect of un­em­ploy­ment, traditional grammar considers a transitive verb.

The Cambridge Grammar agrees that the one in the second example (taking an object NP as a complement) is a transitive verb. Does the book considers the one in the first example (taking a that-clause as a complement) a transitive or intransitive verb?

  • Is this question about intransitive prepositions, intransitive verbs, or intransitivity? How does CGEL define intransitivity? (presumably valency zero) – Mitch Jan 19 at 16:49
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    @Mitch This question is specifically about CGEL's definition of transitivity/intransitivity. I think discussing transitivity necessarily involves discussing intransitivity because it's either transitive or intransitive. The question is about both verbs and prepositions because CGEL discusses (in)transitivity for both. – JK2 Jan 19 at 22:02
  • JK2: can you the add their definition to the question? It makes things better if it is as self contained as possible. – Mitch Jan 19 at 22:06
  • @Mitch Their definition of transitivity is too basic to be useful, because the definition is presented in the section where they don't talk about any complements in the form of finite or non-finite clauses. – JK2 Jan 20 at 0:20

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