Embedded PP

Today’s Bizarro:

PPs within PPs. All are postnominal modifying PPs that are (roughly) equivalent to postnominal relative clauses:

the memo which was about the meeting which was about the conference call which was about the memo which was on how to schedule meetings

So these postnominal PPs have been referred to as “reduced relative clauses”.

2 Responses to “Embedded PP”

  1. John Lawler Says:

    I like Jim McCawley’s name for them: the remains of deceased clauses.

  2. Randy Alexander Says:

    In content this reminds me of a haiku I saw in Mangajin, a Japanese language learning magazine from the 90s:

    Meeting to decide
    The right time to schedule the
    Meeting to decide.

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