Some dictionaries say the word "worth" is an adjective. Why? It acts like preposition.
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Predicatively, what would it be worth?
Some dictionaries say the word "worth" is an adjective. Why? Itacts like preposition.

I agree it's not an ordinary adjective: it forms such sentences as "He's worth listening to", but it's still an adjective. The interesting thing about it is that it can only be used in this predicative way we can't say "*He's worth." I suppose the best way to understand this is to think of it as meaning "worthy of": a single word containing the ideas of both the adjective and the preposition.

Mike.
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Thank you for your kindly reply. But I still don't understand why "worth" is an adjective rather than preposition. The preposition phrase can also be used in predicative way, but, unlike preposition, the adjective cannot have its object. So "worth" should be classified as preposition.

"Mike Lyle" wrote >
I agree it's not an ordinary adjective: it forms such ... containing the ideas of both the adjective and the preposition.

Thank you for your kindly reply. But I still don't understand why "worth" is an adjective rather than preposition. The preposition phrase can also be used in predicative way, but, unlike preposition, the adjective cannot have its object. So "worth" should be classified as preposition.

NSOED classes this use of "worth" as a "predicative adjective (now usually with prepositional force)".
Matti
NSOED classes this use of "worth" as a "predicative adjective (now usually with prepositional force)".

I think the only possible answer to "Why don't we call it a preposition?" is that it doesn't feel quite like one. I suppose it doesn't feel quite like a preposition because we are vaguely conscious of its origin as an adjective, and because we have a rather rigidly set mental list of words which are prepositions. As I said, I think we unconsciously parse the word as a substitute for the adjective-preposition combination "worthy of": since the adjective part of the combination is indispensable, we call the whole thing an adjective.
I wouldn't mind betting, though, that it will one day be called a preposition, like such compounds as "beside", "despite", and "notwithstanding"; but perhaps the time isn't ripe.

Nice question: thanks for asking it.

Mike.
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Worth is a NOUN that is sometimes used as an adjective, just like any other noun.
He lives in the house.
He had a house party.
[nq:1]Worth is a NOUN that is sometimes used as an adjective, just likeany other noun. He lives in the house. He had a house party.
I'm not at all sure of that certainly not sure enough to indulge in capital letters on the subject. There do seem to be some differences in forms found in A-S, though it isn't quite clear to me.

In any case, the question here and it's a good question is why, when it behaves so much like a preposition, we don't call it one. I was hoping for wisdom on the subject from John Lawler, who knows more about it than you or I, but all I could find was a remark in '96, when he said you could treat "worth" either as a very peculiar adjective or as a very peculiar preposition. That seems to fit reasonably well with my earlier answer, and I think it would be misleading to let the OP regard the word as only a noun.

Mike.
[nq:2]NSOED classes this use of "worth" as a "predicative adjective (now usually with prepositional force)".
I think the only possible answer to "Why don't we call it a preposition?" is that it doesn't feel ... one day be called a preposition, like such compounds as "beside", "despite", and "notwithstanding"; but perhaps the time isn't ripe.

This reminds me of the prepositional use of 'concerning' e.g. he wrote concerning the car accident. All dictionaries now classify this use as a preposition, but this was once disputed. The 1828 Webster's dictionary says "This word has been considered a preposition, but most improperly".
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