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Conjunctions and Other Parts of Speech

Alan Reed Libert

The classification of words in terms of parts of speech is frequently problematic. This book examines the classification of conjunctions and similar words of other classes. It reviews work done from the 19th century to the present on a wide range of languages, including English, German, French, Latin, Ancient Greek, Welsh, Persian, Chinese, Japanese, Ute, and Abun. Most chapters treat conjunctions as opposed to one of the other traditionally recognized parts of speech: nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, adpositions, and interjections. The book’s major focus is on the terminology used to describe words on or near the borders between conjunctions and other parts of speech, such as «deverbal conjunctions», «conjunctional adverbs», «prepositional conjunctions», and «so-called conjunctions».

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Chapter 7: Conjunctions and Adpositions


I discussed the issue of adpositions vs. conjunctions in Chapter 6 of Libert (2013a) and I do not wish to repeat myself. However, I shall refer to some work and situations which I did not mention there. One (of many) authors who recognized the problematic status of the boundary between adpositions and conjunctions was Kruisinga (1932:380), who said, “It is not always possible to distinguish between prepositions and conjunctions”.

An early description of the difference between these two word classes comes from Felch (1837:33):

The Conjunction is in some measure adverbially or adnominally used, and principally distinguished from the preposition by depending on the aid of an expression of eventuality, (or verbal expression,) instead of a noun expressing a mere object, as in the following examples:–

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