apposition expressed with 'of'

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park sang joon

Senior Member
Korean
In the phrases below, Both nouns of the front and the back of 'of' are apposition to each other,
or the phrase 'of + noun' modifies a noun before it.

1) a pair of shoes
2) these kinds of questions
3) a lot of girls
4) a mountain of a wave
5) an angel of a girl

We think the phrase 'noun of' modifies a noun after it in Korea here.
How about you native speakers?

Thank you in advance for your help.
 
  • velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    I don't believe the nouns before and after "of" are in apposition. An example of nouns in apposition is "Bella, my favourite dog, is ten years old. "Bella" and "my favourite dog" are in apposition.
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    The preposition "of" can be used after nouns that express quantities e.g. "a kilo of potatoes". I think that 1 and 3 - "pair of", "lot of", may fit into that category.

    The FreeDictionary has this example of apposition:
    20. Used to indicate an appositive: that idiot of a driver.

    "Mountain of a wave" and "angel of a girl" would fit that category.
     

    park sang joon

    Senior Member
    Korean
    Thank you Mr.velisarius for your reply.
    In #3 and #4, does the phrase 'noun of' modify a noun after it?
    For example, in #3 does the phrase '
    a mountain of' modify 'a wave'?
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    I'm no expert in grammar, but logically "a lot of" modifies "girls" in the same way as an adjective would: "many girls". A "mountain of a" modifies "wave" in the same way as "huge" does: "a huge wave".
     

    RM1(SS)

    Senior Member
    English - US (Midwest)
    Thank you Mr.velisarius for your reply.
    In #3 and #4, does the phrase 'noun of' modify a noun after it?
    For example, in #3 does the phrase '
    a mountain of' modify 'a wave'?
    I would say that they do.

    Tip: If you look at velisarius's profile, you'll see that she is not "Mr" velisarius.
     

    park sang joon

    Senior Member
    Korean
    You have informed me of the tip I haven't known; Thank you RM1(SS) :)

    I think
    semantically, the phrase 'noun of' modify a noun after it but grammatically, 'of noun' modify a noun before it.
    How about my opinion?
     

    Glasguensis

    Signal Modulation
    English - Scotland
    No, that is incorrect. In the above example "mountain of a" is what we call an adjectival phrase - no matter what types of words we find in the phrase (preposition, noun, article), together they function as an adjective. The grammar is therefore [adjective] | noun.
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    I don't see any of the nouns involved as appositives. Grammatically, I would call of a preposition in all the phrases in question. It takes an object, and the prepositional phrase modifies the previous noun.

    But the phrases in question have multiple possible interpretations, some of which seem to put both nouns on the same level or even to make the second more important to the meaning than the first:

    1) "A pair of shoes" can refer either to a singular pair (as in "A pair of shoes was found on the table"), modified by "of shoes", or to two shoes, plural, that form a pair (as in "A pair of shoes were on the table").
    2) "These kinds of questions" might refer literally to certain kinds of questions but is more likely to refer to questions of certain kinds.
    3) "A lot of girls" almost certainly means "many girls" (since girls do not generally come in "lots").
    4) "A mountain of a wave" might mean a mountain-like part of a wave, but it is probably meant as a metaphor, describing a particular wave as a mountain.
    5) "An angel of a girl" might mean a girl's ghost, since "angel" sometimes means "ghost", approximately, but it too is probably meant as a metaphor describing a particular girl as an angel (i.e. a saintly/beautiful person).

    The only way to definitively resolve the ambiguities is with context.
     
    Last edited:

    park sang joon

    Senior Member
    Korean
    I'm glad to hear you; it's been a long time after I heard you :)
    Thank you for your concrete answer.
    Your answer is very very help for me too.
     
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