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Prepositions and the Vampires of ‘The Twilight Saga’: Beyond the Prescriptive

Although the joke “prepositions are not words to end sentences with” comments on a prescriptive grammar proscription for prepositions, prepositions fulfill a variety of functions in a number of positions. Belonging to a grammatical category consisting of a small closed set of words (DeCarrico 2000: 121), prepositions show no inflectional variation (Huddleston 1984: 336). Most grammarians, however, describe a difference between simple prepositions including “ing” prepositions and complex prepositions (Huddleston 1984: 341). Simple prepositions, which are the majority of prepositions in the English language, consist of one word such as about, by, for, in, of, on, and with as in taken by surprise and capable of self-sacrifice (Huddleston 1984: 341; DeCarrico 2000: 129; O’Dwyer 2000: 95; Meyer 2007: 258, 523). Examples of “ing” prepositions include concerning and including as in the legend concerning vampires and the Cullen family including Bella, which are distinguished from similar forms ending in “ing” such as present participles and gerunds by the existence of a noun phrases as their complements as well as the function of the prepositional phrase (O’Dwyer 2000: 96). Unlike simple prepositions, complex prepositions are periphrastic consisting of two to four words including at least one simple preposition such as out of in Edward pulled Bella out of the way and in spite of in His eyes widened a little bit, distracted in spite of himself (Huddleston 1984: 341; O’Dwyer 2000: 96-97; Meyer 2005: 58; Meyer 2008: 91).

Because the form of prepositions is relatively invariable, some grammarians consider the internal structure of prepositional phrases more important than the internal structure of prepositions. Prepositional phrases are phrases with a head in the form of a preposition directly followed by a prepositional complement in the form of a noun phrase (O’Dwyer 2000: 94, 123, 129; Hopper 1999: 31, 115). Examples of prepositional phrases include around me and because of the vegetarian vampire coven, which are formed respectively by the prepositions around and because of directly followed by the noun phrases me and the vegetarian vampire coven (Meyer 2007: 476). The vampires of The Twilight Saga commonly use prepositions in regular speech as when Edward informs Bella after her near car accident in the school parking lot, “Bella, I was standing with you, and I pulled you out of the way” in which he uses the prepositional phrases with you and out of the way (Meyer 2005: 58). Prepositional phrases also cannot be interrupted by intervening elements (Jacobs 1995: 246). Therefore, the sentence He concentrated very hard on the empty forest is grammatical but *He concentrated on very hard the empty forest is not because the adverb phrase very hard cannot interrupt the head and complement of the prepositional phrase (Meyer 2008: 291).

Although prepositions normally precede their complements in English grammar as in prepositional phrases (Huddleston 1984: 337), prepositions can appear in constructions apart from their complements and even without complements (Huddleston 1984: 338; Jacobs 1995: 245). In English, interrogative sentences are formed either by inserting a do operator or fronting the first auxiliary verb to create a yes-no question as in Charlie blushed and Did Charlie blush?or Renée had unexpectedly immersed herself in wedding plans and Had Renée unexpectedly immersed herself in wedding plans? or by fronting a wh word to create and open-ended question as in Carlisle and Esme gave airplane tickets to Bella and To whom did Carlisle and Esme give airplane tickets? (Jacobs 1995: 246; Huddleston 1984: 338; Meyer 2008: 19-20). In the example Carlisle and Esme gave airplane tickets to Bella, the prepositional phrase to Bella consists of the head to and the complement Bella. To create an interrogative sentence, the prepositional complement is first replaced by a wh word as in Carlisle and Esme gave airplane tickets to whom and then the entire prepositional phrase containing the wh word is fronted and a do operator inserted to create the question To whom did Carlisle and Esme give airplane tickets? But, in English, an interrogative can also be formed by wh-fronting, fronting only the wh word, as in Who did Carlisle and Esme gave airplane tickets to? (Jacobs 1995: 245). Both forms are grammatically possible in English (Huddleston 1984: 338).

The difference, however, between To whom did Carlisle and Esme give airplane tickets? and Who did Carlisle and Esme gave airplane tickets to? is a question of style, with the former more formal and the later more informal, rather than a matter of grammaticality. Prescriptive grammars proscribe the separation of prepositions from prepositional complements. However, the vampires in The Twilight Saga use prepositions in positions beyond the prescriptive. After her slightly disastrous birthday party, for example, Edward asks Bella, “Where did the enthusiasm come from?” to which Bella answers, “You made me curious.” (Meyer 2006: 47) Combining the question and answer into The enthusiasm came from her curiosity creates a possible declarative sentence from which the question Edward asks is formed. Just as in the previous example of the interrogative sentences formed from Carlisle and Esme gave airplane tickets to Bella, the wh word where first replaces the prepositional complement in the form of the noun phrase her curiosity to create the sentence The enthusiasm came from where. As with other verb phrases consisting of only a main verb, a do operator is then inserted to form the incomplete interrogative *Did the enthusiasm come from where? Finally, the entire prepositional phrase from where is fronted to create the complete interrogative sentence From where did the enthusiasm come?, which is the only grammatically correct possibility according to prescriptive grammars. Edward, however, fronts only the prepositional complement where and strands the preposition from to form the grammatically correct but more informal Where did the enthusiasm come from? (Meyer 2006: 47). Other vampires similarly strand prepositions in questions such as when Alice asks Jasper “What is he rambling about?” and when Emmett asks his family “What are we waiting for?” (Meyer 2007: 285, 306). By forming interrogative sentences through only wh-fronting, the Cullen family and other vampires move beyond the prescriptive in their use of prepositions.

In addition to immediately preceding and existing apart from their complements, prepositions can also appear in a form that lacks a prepositional complement such as the prepositions off and down in the examples The horrifying sound cut off with a gurgle and Edward at first fiercely shot down the request to turn Bella into a vampire (Hopper 1999: 31; Meyer 2008: 347). Prepositions without complements are termed “marooned” or “stranded” prepositions (Hopper 1999: 31, 121). Even though the noun phrase the request initially appears to be a prepositional complement, the noun phrase is actually a direct object of the phrasal verb shot down, which means both off and down are marooned prepositions because neither have a prepositional complement. Marooned prepositions most frequently appear with phrasal verbs such as spring up meaning “to develop” in the example The friendship that had sprung up between Edward and Seth was something that still boggled my mind and as verb phrase complements such as take out in the example Edward took Bella out to the meadow (Meyer 2008: 12). Marooned prepositions in phrasal verb constructions are also termed “particles” but are more aptly described as prepositions functioning as particles (Jacobs 1995: 248). The vampires of the Cullen family in The Twilight Saga also frequently maroon prepositions as when Esme chastises Edward, “I hope you haven’t been showing off — it’s rude” and when Rosalie speaks to Bella about her past, “He said my eyes were like violets, and then those started showing up alongside the roses” (Meyer 2005: 325; Meyer 2007: 157). Like with stranded prepositions through wh-fronting, however, prescriptive grammars also proscribe the use of marooned prepositions as well as to a lesser degree the use of phrasal verbs.

Similar to the stranding of prepositions in wh-fronting is the marooning of prepositions within relative clause structures. For example, the two sentences Bella pledged her love to the vampire and Edward is the vampire can be combined into a single sentence by forming a complex sentence in which the first sentence becomes a relative clause. Similar to forming interrogative sentences, the complement the vampire in the prepositional phrase to the vampire is first replaced by the relative pronoun whom as in Bella pledged her love to whom and then the entire prepositional phrase to whom is fronted to create the relative clause to whom Bella pledged her love. The second sentence Edward is the vampire and the relative clause to whom Bella pledged her love are finally combined to create the complex sentence Edward is the vampire to whom Bella pledged her love. However, as with interrogative sentences, only the relative pronoun need be fronted, leaving the preposition again stranded as in Edward is the vampire who Bella pledged her love to (Jacobs 1995: 245). Additionally, many relative pronouns are optionally omissible when only the relative pronoun is fronted, stranding the preposition as in Edward is the vampire Bella pledged her love to. All three constructions are grammatically possible in English, although prescriptive grammars again proscribe the stranding of prepositions within relative clauses.

Just as with the stranding of prepositions within wh-fronting in the construction of interrogative sentences, the vampires of The Twilight Saga use prepositions in relative clauses in positions beyond the prescriptive. During his training sessions to teach his family and the werewolves to fight the newborn vampires, for example, Jasper states, “They’ll turn on each other as easily as on the enemy you point them at” in explanation of the newborn vampire combat style (Meyer 2007: 290). The sentence consists of the main clause They’ll turn on each other as easily as on the enemy and the relative clause you point them at. Just as in the example Edward is the vampire to whom Bella pledged her love in which the relative clause can converted into the sentence Bella pledged her love to the vampire, the relative clause you point them at is understood as the sentence you point them at the enemy. The relative clause is then formed by replacing the prepositional complement the enemy in the prepositional phrase at the enemy with the relative pronoun which as in you point them at which. After fronting only the relative pronoun as in which you point them at to create the complex sentence They’ll turn on each other as easily as on the enemy which you point them at, the relative pronoun is omitted to form the final complex sentence They’ll turn on each other as easily as on the enemy you point them at. According to prescriptive grammar rules in which the stranding of prepositions is proscribed, however, neither the relative clause in which only the relative pronoun nor the relative clause in which the relative pronoun is omitted are grammatically correct. Prescriptive grammars allow only the fronting of the entire prepositional phrase as in They’ll turn on each other as easily as on the enemy at which you point them. However, as exemplified by Jasper during his training session, vampires use prepositions in relative clauses in positions beyond the prescriptive. Other vampires similarly front only and even omit relative pronouns as when Edward proclaims “I didn’t believe I would ever find someone I wanted to be with” to Bella, when Carlisle admits “That’s the one part I can never be sure of” in explanation of his spiritual beliefs, and when Rosalie explains “I wanted a big house and a modern kitchen that someone else would cook in” as she tells Bella about her former human life (Meyer 2005: 300; Meyer 2006: 38; Meyer 2007: 155).

Although relatively invariable in form, prepositions and prepositional phrases are among the most versatile structures in the English language with a considerable variety of functional potential (DeCarrico 2000: 121; Huddleston 1984: 336). Rodney Huddleston (1984) identifies the primary functional potential of prepositions as taking noun phrases as complements and functioning as complements or modifiers for various other constructions including noun phrases, adjective phrases, verb phrases, and clauses (336). Prepositions primarily have the functional potential to take noun phrases as complements as in the noun phrases squashy green stuff and the long night in the prepositional phrases with squashy green stuff and during the long night (Meyer 2005: 228, 406). The preposition preceding the complement such as the prepositions in of the prepositional phrase in the flames and the preposition by of the prepositional phrase by the fierce pain likewise function as the heads of the prepositional phrases (Meyer 2008: 376). Although prepositions can and do function apart from or without complements in the form of noun phrases, prescriptive grammars prescribe the obligatoriness of noun phrases immediately following the preposition to form prepositional phrases.

Prepositions within the larger construction of the prepositional phrase also function as complements or modifiers to other structures including noun phrases, adjective phrases, and verb phrases (DeCarrico 2000: 122). In the examples a blood-curdling shriek of agony and the bump on my stomach, the prepositional phrases of agony and on my stomach function respectively as the complement of the noun phrase a blood-curdling shriek and as the modifier of the noun phrase the bump (Huddleston 1984: 336; Meyer 2008: 126, 347). As noun phrase modifiers, prepositional phrases function similarly to adjective phrases to describe or modify a noun phrase such as in the noun phrase the russet brown-furred werewolf in which the adjective phrase russet brown-furred describes the werewolf and in the noun phrase the werewolf with russet brown fur in which the prepositional phrase with russet brown fur also describes the noun phrase the werewolf (Hopper 1999: 115; Meyer 2006: 325). Prepositional phrases likewise function as complements of adjective phrases as in with disbelief in shrill with disbelief and as complements of verb phrases as in at his own joke in chuckled at his own joke as well as modifiers of adjective phrases like against me in too hard against me and modifiers of verb phrases like during the wedding in cried during the wedding (DeCarrico 2000: 122, 124; Huddleston 1984: 336; Meyer 2007: 545, 626; Meyer 2008: 49, 89).

Prepositional phrases functioning as complements differ from prepositional phrases functioning as modifiers in that the head of the noun, adjective, or verb phrase imposes collocation restrictions on or subcategorizes the preposition (Huddleston 1984: 336). In the example a blood-curdling shriek of agony and the similar example the acceleration of my heart, only a prepositional phrase with the head of following the noun phrase establishes a relationship between the initial noun phrase and the prepositional complement in which the entire prepositional phrase completes the meaning of the initial noun phrase (Meyer 2008: 13, 347). Conversely, noun phrases with prepositional phrases as modifiers can precede almost any preposition as in the vampire with blonde hair, the vampire across the river, and the vampire between the werewolves because the prepositional phrase describes as opposed to completes the noun phrase. Although adjective phrase complements are optional for some adjectives like embarrassed in embarrassed by her klutziness and sad in sad for the victims, certain adjectives like afraid and fear require complements as in the example afraid of the Volturi and the similar example aware of the dire consequences (Huddleston 1984: 336; DeCarrico 2000: 124). Such adjectives as afraid and aware also impose collocation restrictions on the subsequent preposition; the adjective afraid can be followed by the prepositions of and for but not on or under as in Sam was afraid for the tribe but not *Sam was afraid under the tribe (Meyer 2008: 205).

Complements of verb phrases also differ from modifiers of verb phrases because the head of the verb phrase likewise imposes collocation restrictions on the head of the prepositional phrase (Huddleston 1984: 336); the prepositional phrases functioning as a verb phrase complement completes the meaning of the verb phrase. In the example cried during the wedding, the prepositional phrase during the wedding modifies the verb phrase cried but is not determined by the head of the verb phrase (Meyer 2008: 49). Any number of prepositions can replace the preposition during without changing the grammaticality of the phrase such as cried after the wedding, cried outside the wedding, and cried despite the wedding. When the prepositional phrase functions as a complement of the verb phrase, however, the head of the verb phrase determines the head of the prepositional phrase. Verbs such as listen and rely require specific prepositions for the prepositional phrase to function as a complement (DeCarrico 2000: 124). Therefore, the verb phrases listen to the acceleration of my heart and rely on her uncannily accurate visions are grammatical but *listen between the acceleration of my heart and *rely beside her uncannily accurate visions are ungrammatical (Meyer 2008: 13; Meyer 2007: 24). Prepositional phrases can furthermore function as either modifiers or complements for verbs like listen depending on the preposition in the head position of the prepositional phrase; the prepositional phrase to the acceleration of my heart functions as a complement in the verb phrase listen to the acceleration of my heart while despite the acceleration of my heart functions as a modifier in listen despite the acceleration of my heart (Meyer 2008: 13).

The formal difference between prepositions, particularly marooned prepositions, and adverbs is sometimes difficult to determine because marooned prepositions function similarly to adverbs functioning as verb phrase complements (Hopper 1999: 31-32). For example, the preposition off and the adverb ashore differ in form but fulfill the same function. Since one primary function potential of prepositions is taking noun phrases as complements, the word ashore is clearly not a preposition because the prepositional phrase *ashore the beach in the example *Jacob dragged Bella ashore the beach is impossible and ungrammatical in the English language (Meyer 2006: 364). The word off, however, does have the functional potential to take a noun phrase as a complement as in the prepositional phrase off the cliff in the example Bella foolishly jumped off the cliff (Meyer 2006: 359). The ambiguity between prepositions and adverbs arises when a preposition lacks a complement. Both ashore and off function as the head of the verb phrase complement in the examples Jacob dragged Bella ashore and Bella foolishly jumped off the cliff. However, the noun phrase the cliff can be eliminated without changing the grammaticality of the sentence as in Bella foolishly jumped off. The word off still functions as a verb phrase complement but now appears to have the form of an adverb. However, with the functional potential to take a noun phrase as a complement, the word off still also remains a preposition in form.

The vampires in The Twilight Saga use prepositional phrases as both modifiers and complements of noun phrases, adjective phrases, and verb phrases. For example, as he treats the injury Bella sustained at her birthday party, Carlisle states “Too much glass in the wound,” a statement in which the prepositional phrase in the wound functions as a modifier of the noun phrase too much glass (Meyer 2006: 31). Rosalie also uses a prepositional phrase, in the gut, to modify the noun phrase a good kick when she tells Jacob, “I owe you a good kick in the gut” (Meyer 2008: 447). Since any number of prepositions can replace the preposition in in both examples as in Too much glass around the wound and I owe you a good kick below the gut, both prepositional phrases clearly function as modifiers. The Cullen family and other vampires, however, more frequently use prepositional phrases as complements as opposed to modifiers as when Carlisle tells Bella, “Even the sense of smell is a useful diagnostic tool at times” during a discussion of vampire abilities, when Edward comments, “But they can see Renesmee now, so they are perfectly sanguine about their course” as the Volturi approach, and when Edward requests “Let’s go have Carlisle look at your hand before you wind up in a jail cell” after Bella punches Jacob (Meyer 2006: 34; Meyer 2008: 682; Meyer 2007: 339). The prepositional phrase of smell completes the meaning of the noun phrase the sense, the prepositional phrase about their course the meaning of the adjective phrase perfectly sanguine, and the prepositional phrase at your hand the meaning of the verb phrase look. All three example prepositional phrases taken from regular vampire speech, therefore, function as complements.

Some verbs such as chuckle and confess allow only one preposition such as at and to as the head of the prepositional phrase functioning as a complement to the verb phrase as in is chuckling at his own joke and will have confessed to a murder (Meyer 2007: 626; Meyer 2008: 13). Other verbs like listen and look permit multiple prepositions that create different meanings like to and for and at and in to occupy the head of the prepositional phrase functioning as a verb phrase complement as in listen to the acceleration of my heart and listen for the acceleration of my heart and look at the oil paintings and look in the secluded house (Meyer 2008: 13; Meyer 2005: 335). Verbs with fixed sets of prepositions that can function as the head of the prepositional phrase functioning as the complement to the verb phrase are termed “prepositional” verbs (Hopper 1999: 126). As described by Jeannette S. DeCarrico (2000) in The Structure of English, prepositional verbs form syntactic constituents; the relationship between the verb and the preposition is dictated by the syntax (132). For example, in the verb phrase containing a prepositional verb argue about saving Bella, the verb argue requires the preposition about but still means “dispute an issue” just as in the sentence Edward and Rosalie argue; the preposition about, although obligatory with the verb argue, similarly still means “indicating a relationship” just as in the noun phrase the story about her past (O’Dwyer 2000: 94; Meyer 2005: 401; Meyer 2007: 154). Additional examples of prepositional verbs include apologize for as when Edward says, “Of all the things to apologize for,” hear of as when Eleazar states, “I’ve never heard of such a thing,” laugh at as when Bella asks, “Why are you laughing at me?” and worry about as when both Edward and Jasper declare, “You have nothing to worry about” (Courtney 1983: 8, 284, 335, 728; Meyer 2005: 410, 460, 463; Meyer 2008: 419, 587). Prepositional verbs are always intransitive, consisting of a verb phrase followed by a prepositional phrase, which functions as the verb phrase complement.

Similar to prepositional verbs in that the preposition is obligatory, prepositions follow verbs to create a verb form termed “phrasal” verbs (Hopper 1999: 122; DeCarrico 2000: 132). Unlike prepositional verbs, however, phrasal verbs always consist of a verb phrase followed by a marooned preposition functioning as a particle as in the examples pass out and give up (Hopper 1999: 122; Meyer 2005: 88, 318). Although grammatical relationships among forms of lexemes are expressed through either inflection or periphrasis, English is a highly periphrastic language. According to the Oxford English Dictionary (2008), periphrasis is defined as “a phrase of two or more words used to express a grammatical relationship which would otherwise be expressed by the inflection of a single word.” As described by DeCarrico (2000), phrasal verbs form semantic constituents; the relationship between the verb and the preposition is determined by the meaning of the phrasal verb as a single lexical item (DeCarrico 2000: 132-133). Formed by a verb phrase followed by a marooned preposition functioning as a particle, the phrasal verb forms a semantic constituent whose meaning is not determined by the verb phrase or preposition as individual parts but rather by the whole phrasal verb as a single lexical item (Hopper 1999: 122; Tyler and Evans 2003: 62; DeCarrico 2000: 132-133; Williams 1970: 287). Some phrasal verbs also contain multiple prepositions functioning as particles as in put up with. More simply, phrasal verbs are periphrastic because two or more words create a single grammatical category.

For example, the phrasal verb run into is quite semantically different from the verb and preposition run into in the sentences Jacob ran into the camping tent after carrying Bella up the mountain and Jacob ran into the camping tent when Bella needed heat (Meyer 2007: 486, 489). In the first example of run into as a phrasal verb meaning “to encounter,” the verb run and the preposition into, which functions as a particle, form a constituent to which the noun phrase the camping tent is the direct object. The periphrastic phrasal verb run into could also be replaced by the single verb encounter as in the sentence Jacob encountered the camping tent after carrying Bella up the mountain without significantly altering the meaning. In the second example of run into as a verb and preposition, the preposition into functions as the head of the prepositional phrase into the camping tent. The prepositional phrase into the camping tent then functions as the complement of the verb phrase ran. Although functionally different, the semantic difference between the first run into and the second run into is more striking. In the first sentence, Jacob carried Bella up the mountain and then encountered a tent for camping. In the second sentence, Jacob physically entered the tent for camping when Bella needed heat; the preposition into describes the direction in which Jacob ran. Phrasal verbs are therefore idiomatic because the meaning of the phrasal verbs cannot be deduced from the individual words in their form (Hopper 1999: 122). The phrasal verb look into as a synonym for investigate cannot be defined by combining the definitions of the verb look and the preposition into just as put up with cannot be determined to mean tolerate by individually analyzing the three words from which the phrasal verb is formed (Jacobs 1995: 162). Therefore, the phrasal verb run into can only be understood idiomatically as a single unit meaning “to encounter,” but the preposition of the verb and preposition run into can be replaced by other prepositions such as around and from to describe a different direction in which the Jacob ran without altering the meaning of the verb run.

Akin to Modern German and Dutch, many verbs in Old English consisted of verbs with separable preposition prefixes (Fischer et al. 2000: 182; Williams 1970: 286; Strang 1974: 275). For example, the Modern German aufwachen meaning “to wake up” and the Modern Dutch uitlachen meaning “to laugh at” both consist of the separable preposition prefixes auf and uit and the verbs wachen and lachen (Fischer et al 2000: 182). When verbs with separable preposition prefixes are conjugated, however, the preposition prefix “separates” from the beginning of the verb to the end of the predicate phrase as in ich wache morgens auf meaning “I wake up in the morning.” Phrasal verbs, single semantic units formed by a verb phrase followed by a marooned preposition such as wake up, only developed in the English language during the Middle English Period (Smith 2005: 104). According to Barbara M. H. Strang in A History of English (1974: 275), the separable nature of certain intransitive verbs with preposition prefixes produced many patterns in which the separated preposition prefix immediately followed the verb as in the Modern German du kommst auf meaning “you arise” or “you get up” and wir kommen an meaning “we arrive.” Such syntax in which the preposition followed instead of preceded the verb became the preferred word order in English, which consequently developed into the modern phrasal verb (Strang 1974: 275). Although prescriptive grammars often denounce phrasal verbs as unrefined and proscribe against their use, the English phrasal verb is rather Germanic in origin and therefore a completely legitimate English verb construction.

Just as with other functions like complements and modifiers, the vampires of The Twilight Saga use prepositions in particle functions in phrasal verb constructions. For example, while explaining about the history of the armies of newborn vampires in Mexico, Jasper states, “When the body count reached epidemic proportions — in fact, your histories blame a disease for the population slump — the Volturi finally stepped in.” (Meyer 2007: 290-291) Although Jasper could also have chosen the nonperiphrastic verb intervene as in the Volturi finally intervened (Courtney 1983: 618), he instead used the periphrastic phrasal verb step in to describe the action taken by the Volturi after the newborn vampires ran amok and drew attention to the hidden vampire world. Both Edward and Alice use the phrasal verb show up meaning “to arrive” as when Edward tells Bella “It was only a matter of time — and not much of it — before I showed up at your window and begged you to take me back” after returning from Italy and when Alice jokes “Not that it wouldn’t be fun to watch his face if Rosalie showed up to help” after Edward discusses car repair with Mike (Meyer 2006: 514; Meyer 2007: 41). Bella uses the phrasal verb freak out, which means “to frighten,” when she says “We could go on foot, but that would freak Charlie out” while discussing visiting her father (Meyer 2008: 631). Even vampires who are thousands of years old use phrasal verbs in regular speech. For example, after Bella and Alice find Edward in the city of Volterra, Aro of the Volturi says to Caius “Besides, I’m so terribly curious to see how Bella turns out” in which he uses the phrasal verb turn out, which means “to develop” (Meyer 2006: 480; Courtney 1983: 697). Caius, too, uses the phrasal verb follow through when he warns Edward “To be sure that you follow through on your side” meaning “to complete” or “to obey” (Meyer 2006: 481; Courtney 1983: 202).

Phrasal verbs additionally differ from prepositional verbs in that phrasal verbs may be either transitive or intransitive while prepositional verbs are always only intransitive (Jacobs 1995: 248). Intransitive verbs including intransitive phrasal verbs differ from transitive verbs in that intransitive verbs cannot or do not take objects (Jacobs 1995: 248). For example, the nonperiphrastic verb dream is always intransitive as in Bella dreamed or Bella first dreamed about Edward the night after the near car accident because the verb dream cannot take an object as in *Bella first dreamed Edward the night after the near car accident or *Bella dreamed vampires and werewolves (Meyer 2005: 67). Many phrasal verbs are also intransitive as when Alice reveals, “I thought you were never going to show up” in explaining about first meeting Jasper and when Edward states, “Just in case Charlie wakes up early” after Bella meets with the Cullen family (Jacobs 1995: 248; Meyer 2007: 302; Meyer 2006: 537). In the examples I thought you were never going to show up and Just in case Charlie wakes up early, the phrasal verbs show up meaning “to arrive” and wake up meaning “to awake” are both intransitive because neither take objects in the example sentences. Other intransitive phrasal verbs include get up as in Bella got up from bed, break down as in Her truck broke down after Bella agreed to marry Edward, die down as in The commotion Jacob caused died down after Seth intervened, and run away as in Jacob ran away from home when he realized Bella would marry Edward (Courtney 1983: 47, 132, 231, 521; Meyer 2005: 312; Meyer 2008: 7, 9, 66). The preposition functioning as a particle almost always directly follows the verb in intransitive phrasal verb constructions as in Bella threw up near the white sofa but not *Bella threw near the white sofa up (Meyer 2008: 346-347).

Phrasal verbs, like other nonperiphrastic verbs such as drink as in Bella drank the blood and eat as in Jacob ate the steak and baked potato, may also be transitive (Meyer 2008: 249, 294). Unlike intransitive verbs that cannot or do not have objects, transitive verbs require direct objects and may also take indirect objects (O’Dwyer 2000: 60). Most phrasal verbs, however, only take direct objects. For example, the phrasal verbs deck out and turn down as in Alice decked out the house for the wedding and Leah turned down the food and clothing both have direct objects in the form of the noun phrases the house and the food and clothing making both phrasal verbs transitive (Courtney 1983: 125, 695; Meyer 2008: 48, 287). Within the transitive category, phrasal verbs may be either nonseparable or separable. Phrasal verbs in which the preposition functioning as a particle cannot move or be separated from the position directly following the verb are nonseparable (Jacobs 1993: 249). Nonseparable phrasal verbs include run into as in Bella ran into Edward in Port Angeles, stand by as in Edward initially stood by his decision to leave Forks, go for as in The werewolves went for Laurent, and come across as in Bella came across the meadow during her hike (Jacobs 1993: 249; Meyer 2005: 165; Meyer 2006: 68, 234, 244). The prepositions in all the examples of the nonseparable phrasal verbs can only appear immediately after the verb. Therefore, the syntax of the phrasal verb ran into in the sentence Bella ran into Edward in Port Angeles is grammatically possible in English but *Bella ran Edward into in Port Angeles is not.

The phrasal verbs look up and chew out differ from nonseparable phrasal verbs in that the preposition functioning as a particle may appear directly after the verb or immediately following the direct object without changing the function of the preposition (Jacobs 1993: 248; Justice and Ezell 2002: 147). For example, both Charlie chewed out Bella for traveling to Italy without permission and Charlie chewed Bella out for traveling to Italy without permission are grammatically possible in English (Meyer 2006: 498). According to Joseph M. Williams in Origins of the English Language: A Social and Linguistic History (1975), the separable phrasal verb construction developed as a result of the relative flexibility in the syntax of prepositions to direct objects (286-287). As abovementioned, many verbs in Old English consisted of verbs preceded by separable preposition prefixes, which moved to the end of the predicate phrase during conjugation (Williams 1970: 286). Up until the fourteenth century during the evolution of such verbs into modern phrasal verbs, the preposition in the new verb form consisting of a verb directly followed by a preposition could appear either before or after the direct object in the form of a noun phrase (Williams 1970: 286). As such prepositions stopped functioning as heads of prepositional phrases and began functioning as particles in phrasal verb constructions, the position of the preposition remained flexible (Williams 1970: 286). Therefore, while the Old English syntax of the phrasal verb look up would more closely resemble the Modern English Bella looked the vampire websites up and the Modern English construction should only be Bella looked up the vampire websites (Meyer 2005: 133), both syntaxes remained grammatically possible for separable phrasal verbs in Modern English (Williams 1970: 287). That certain transitive phrasal verbs are separable further supports the idea that the English phrasal verb is highly Germanic in form.

Many separable phrasal verbs, however, are only optionally separable when the direct object is a noun phrase in any form other than a pronoun. Two word orders, verb-preposition-noun phrase and verb-noun phrase-preposition, are possible when the direct object is a prototypical noun phrase consisting of a noun and any number of modifiers (Fischer et al. 2000: 180). However, when the direct object is in the form of a pronoun, the preposition functioning as a particle must be separated from the verb (Jacobs 1995: 249). For example, the phrasal verb check out is optionally separable as in Bella checked out the Cullens and Bella checked the Cullens out because the direct object of the verb phrase is the noun phrase the Cullens consisting of the determinative the and the noun Cullens without any pronouns (Meyer 2005: 18). If, conversely, the direct object the Cullens is replaced by the pronoun them, then the phrasal verb check out is obligatorily separable. Therefore, the construction Bella checked them out is grammatically possible in English but *Bella checked out them is not because phrasal verbs with pronoun direct objects must be separable. Many prescriptive grammarians argue against the placement of the preposition after the noun phrase, stating that ending sentences with prepositions is ungrammatical according to proscriptive grammar rules. Prescriptive grammarians also claim that phrasal verbs are colloquial in register and should be avoided in formal writing because more formal nonperiphrastic synonyms also exist i.e. get up ~ arise, wake up ~ awake, look up ~ consult (Smith 2005: 104). But, the obligatorily separable construction of phrasal verbs with pronouns functioning as direct objects only strengthens the Germanic nature and therefore legitimateness of phrasal verbs in the English language.

Within the four different types — intransitive, nonseparable transitive, optionally separable transitive, and obligatorily separable transitive — phrasal verbs remain periphrastic forms whose meaning is derivable only from the combination of the verb and preposition as a single semantic unit (DeCarrico 2000: 132-133; Tyler and Evans 2003: 62). In the example Bella looked up the vampire websites, the meaning of the phrasal verb look up cannot be determined by the meanings of the individual verb look meaning “to visually turn attention to” and the individual preposition up meaning “at a higher point” (Fischer et al. 2000: 180; Meyer 2005: 133). When she looked up the vampire websites, Bella was not visually turning her attention to vampire websites at some higher point; she was instead searching for or consulting the vampire websites probably on a computer with internet access. That the meaning of phrasal verbs cannot be inferred by simply combining the meanings of the verb and preposition further indicates that phrasal verbs are single semantic units (Fischer et al. 2000: 180). The preposition, which in addition to the verb comprises the phrasal verb, no longer functions like a prototypical preposition but rather functions as a particle, which is part of the verb (Justice and Ezell 2002: 146). The preposition functioning as a particle in the phrasal verb look up in the example Bella looked up the vampire websites is therefore more grammaticized than the preposition functioning as a complement in the prepositional verbs look at or look in in the examples look at the oil paintings and look in the secluded house (Tyler and Evans 2003: 62). Thus, phrasal verbs are periphrastic verb constructions because the grammatical relationship is expressed not through inflection but through two or more words.

Just as with the use of prepositions in functions proscribed by prescriptive grammars, the vampires of The Twilight Saga also use prepositions in both separable and nonseparable phrasal verb constructions. For example, Edward first commands Bella, “Put on your seat belt” after he rescues her from the four men in Port Angeles and then requests her, “Put your seat belt on — I’m nervous already” when he meets her for their Saturday out together (Meyer 2005: 162, 253). In the first statement Put on your seat belt, Edward uses the phrasal verb put on, which means “to don” or “to wear,” in a nonseparated construction; the preposition functioning as a particle on precedes the noun phrases functioning as a direct object your seat belt and therefore immediately follows the main verb put. Conversely, Edward use the same phrasal verb put on in the second statement Put your seat belt on in a separated construction meaning the preposition functioning as a particle on is separated from the main verb put by the noun phrase functioning as a direct object your seat belt. The phrasal verb put on is optionally separable. The vampires of The Twilight Saga also use phrasal verbs in nonseparable constructions as when Rosalie says, “He was going to take over at the bank, and so he began overseeing the different positions” while describing her former human fiancé (Meyer 2007: 156). The phrasal verb take over meaning “to take control” is nonseparable as in take over at the bank or take over the bank but not *take at the bank over or *take the bank over. In addition to using separable and nonseparable phrasal verbs in regular speech, the vampires of The Twilight Saga also use obligatorily separable phrasal verbs as in when Edward tells Bella, “I’ll have Alice drop it off after school” while talking about her truck and when Alice orders Bella, “Put it on” referring to the new clothes Alice brought Bella for graduation (Meyer 2005: 103; Meyer 2007: 350). Both drop off and put on are obligatorily separable phrasal verbs in the example sentences because the direct objects it and it are in the form of pronouns as opposed to nouns with any number of modifiers.

Finally, in addition to functioning as complements and modifiers of noun phrases, adjective phrases, and verb phrases and as particles in phrasal verb constructions, prepositions and prepositional phrases also function as adverbials and adjuncts to clause structures (DeCarrico 2000: 122; Hopper 1999: 119). For example, the prepositional phrase In his opinion formed from the preposition in and the noun phrase his opinion functions as an adjunct in the sentence In his opinion, Jacob loves Bella the most. As Hopper (1999) defines, adjuncts frame an entire clause (66-67). Therefore, the prepositional phrase In his opinion frames the entire clause Jacob loves Bella the most as his opinion. Adjuncts are similar to complements of noun phrases, adjective phrases, and verb phrases (O’Dwyer 2000: 172). Other examples of adjuncts include with all due respect and for the love of all things holy. Prepositional phrases also function as adverbials, which Hopper (1999) defines as phrases that express time, place, manner, condition, reason, or purpose of a clause (67, 256; O’Dwyer 2000: 200; Justice and Ezell 2002: 220; DeCarrico 2000: 143). For example, the prepositional phrase during the baseball game functions as an adverbial to the clause The Cullen family encountered the nonvegetarian vampires in the sentence The Cullen family encountered the nonvegetarian vampires during the baseball game by expressing the time during which the main clause occurred (Hopper 1999: 119; Meyer 2005: 375). Thus, the prepositional phrase during the baseball game describes the time during which the entire clause The Cullen family encountered the nonvegetarian vampires occurred. Adverbials function similarly to modifiers of noun phrases, adjective phrases, and verb phrases (O’Dwyer 2000: 172). Both adjuncts and adverbials are optional and can be removed without changing the grammaticality of the main clause.

Although relatively invariable in inflectional variation, prepositions and prepositional phrases are among the most versatile structures in the English language, fulfilling a considerable variety of functions (DeCarrico 2000: 121; Huddleston 1984: 336). Prepositions primarily function as the head of prepositional phrases in constructions immediately preceding their preposition complements (O’Dwyer 2000: 94, 123, 129; Hopper 1999: 31, 115). However, prepositions can appear in constructions apart from their complements and even without complements as in stranded prepositions through wh-fronting and in relative clauses (Huddleston 1984: 338; Jacobs 1995: 245). Prepositional phrases, consisting of a preposition followed by a noun phrase, most frequently function as complements and modifiers to other structures including noun phrases, adjective phrases, and verb phrases but also function as adverbials and adjuncts to clause structures (DeCarrico 2000: 122; Hopper 1999: 119). Prepositions apart from prepositional phrases finally function as particles in phrasal verb constructions (Jacobs 1995: 248). Although multiple grammatically-correct positions exist within the English language for prepositions in various constructions, prescriptive grammars impose strict proscriptions in regards to marooned prepositions. The vampires in The Twilight Saga, however, use prepositions in positions beyond the prescriptive in regular speech.

References

Courtney, Rosemary. 1983. Longman dictionary of phrasal verbs. Essex, England: Longman Group Limited.
DeCarrico, Jeanette S. 2000. The structure of English: Studies in form and function for language teaching. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
Fischer, Olga, Ans Van Kemenade, Willem Koopman, and Wim van der Wurff. 2000. The syntax of early English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Hopper, Paul J. 1999. A short course in grammar. New York: W.W. Norton & Company.
Huddleston, Rodney. 1984. Introduction to the grammar of English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Jacobs, Roderick A. 1995. English syntax: A grammar for English language professionals. New York: Oxford University Press.
Justice, Laura M. and Helen K. Ezell. 2002. The syntax handbook: Everything you learned about syntax…but forgot. Eau Claire, Wisconsin: Thinking Publications.
Meyer, Stephenie. 2008. Breaking dawn. New York: Little, Brown and Company.
Meyer, Stephenie. 2007. Eclipse. New York: Little, Brown and Company.
Meyer, Stephenie. 2006. New moon. New York: Little, Brown and Company.
Meyer, Stephenie. 2005. Twilight. New York: Little, Brown and Company.
O’Dwyer, Bernard. 2000. Modern English structures: Form, function, and position. Peterborough, Ontario: Broadview Press.
Oxford English Dictionary. 2008. Periphrasis, n. http://dictionary.oed.com.proxy2.library.uiuc.edu/cgi/entry/50175668?single=1&query_type=word&queryword=periphrasis&first=1&max_to_show=10 (12 Oct. 2008.)
Smith, Jeremy J. 2005. Essentials of early English: An introduction to old, middle and early modern English. London: Routledge.
Strang, Barbara M. H. 1974. A history of English. London: Methuen & Co. Ltd.
Tyler, Andrea and Vyvyan Evans. 2003. The semantics of English prepositions: Spatial scenes, embodied meaning and cognition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Williams, Joseph M. 1975. Origins of the English language: A social and linguistic history. New York: The Free Press.

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