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Hi folks,

I would like to ask the following question: is it possible for a prepositional phrase to function as a noun in a sentence? I am thinking of the following sentence: I told her about the meeting.

My interpretation:
Subject: I
Verb: told
Direct Object: about the meeting (I told what? About the meeting. Prep: about, OOP: meeting)
Indirect Object: her (To whom did I tell? Her.)

An analogous sentence: I told her the facts.
Subject: I
Verb: told
Direct Object: the facts (I told what? The facts.)
Indirect Object: her (To whom did I tell? Her.)

It seems pretty clear to me. But I found the following in the The Writer's Digest - Grammar Desk Reference:
"However, a prepositional phrase can't function as a noun."

Any thoughts?

Thanks in advance for any help that you might be able to provide.
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Comments  
Tell about is one of the 'prepositional verbs', where the prepositional phrase is considered an alternative 'paraphrase' of the direct object .

I told her (IO) the facts (DO)
I told the facts (DO) to her (prepositional complement)
I told her (IO) about the facts (prepostional complement)

I understand your reasoning, but this is the way it is explained in CGEL. Does that help?
Thanks; that explanation was very informative.

There is one point I'm still unclear about. In the sentence "I told her about the facts," what is the role (or roles) of the word "about"? Clearly, it's part of the prepositional verb "told about". But is it also (and simultaneously) considered to be a separate entity - a preposition?

I ask this because it is my understanding that a prepositional complement cannot exist without a preposition. Since we have a prepositional complement ("the facts"), it would seem that we must also have a preposition ("about").

Does that make any sense?

Thanks again in advance!
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what is the role (or roles) of the word "about"? Clearly, it's part of the prepositional verb "told about". But is it also (and simultaneously) considered to be a separate entity - a preposition?
Given the sentence in isolation (i.e. outside this discussion), I'm sure we would call 'about the facts' a prepositional phrase with the preposition 'about' at its head. Some linguists may prefer to focus on 'tell about' + verb object-- I really don't know. It would be unwise, I think, to consider both simultaneously.
Here is another sentence that we are confused about:

Several of the eggs where cracked.

What is the noun of this sentence?
Thanks to anyone who can help!!
Hi,
Here is another sentence that we are confused about:

Several of the eggs were where cracked.

What is the noun of this sentence?
Thanks to anyone who can help!!

The subject is 'Several', which works as a pronoun.

Or you could say that the compound subject is 'several of the eggs'.

Clive
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...And what about this sentence:
Before breakfast (Noun prepositional phrase )is a good time for swimming. CAN IT WORK AS A NOUN PREPOSITIONAL SENTENCE?
I am learning english as a second language, and I was taught by my professor that there can be noun prepositional phrases. I would like to know whether that`s right. Thank you !
AnonymousCAN IT WORK AS A NOUN PREPOSITIONAL SENTENCE?
There is no such thing as "a noun prepositional sentence". You mean "a sentence with a prepositional phrase functioning as the noun subject".

Yes. That statement is a perfect example of a sentence with a prepositional phrase used as a subject (and therefore as a noun). Of course, the time is implicit: The time before breakfast is a good time for swimming. Note however that, compared with the thousands of sentences that a person says in a week, this type is quite rare.

CJ
In your sentence, "told about" is the verb. "About" in constructions like this is called a "verb particle." Hence the correct analysis is:
Subject: I
Verb: told about

Indirect Object: her
Direct Object: the meeting

An alternative fomulation of your sentence would be: I discussed the meeting with her.

However, a prepositional phrase can function as a noun. Hence, Before lunch is the best time for the meeting. In this sentence before lunch is the subject. Therefore, it functions as a noun.
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