LINGUIST List 7.893

Fri Jun 14 1996

Sum: PP-attachment

Editor for this issue: Ann Dizdar <>


  1. Diana Maynard, Summary: PP-attachment

Message 1: Summary: PP-attachment

Date: Fri, 14 Jun 1996 14:20:31 -0000
From: Diana Maynard <>
Subject: Summary: PP-attachment

Firstly, many thanks to the huge response to my query. No one came up
with any other verbs which appear to forbid attachment of 'with', but
there were lots of suggestions for examples of attachment of 'with' to
'know', as well as possible reasons. Below is a summary of the main
types of examples - I received many more inaddition to these.As many
of you will be aware, I do not agree with all of the examples,
although some of them may be more acceptable to American speakers than
to British ones. Thank you to all those who have discussed the topic
with me further at some length, and in particular to Martin Wynne who
ran a search on the 90 million word BNC corpus and sent me the

Daniel Kahn suggests:
>With nothing more than a glance at the clock, Joh knew he'd be

Many people suggested the following sentence:
>With certainty, John knew the woman.

Michael Barrie suggests:
>I know, with certainty, of at least one counterexample.

Chuck Coker suggests:
>Without a doubt, I know that 'know' is sometimes used with 'with'.

Philip Shaw suggests:
> With hindsight, John knew he shouldn't have spoken to the woman.

>Is it something about the non-punctual nature of KNOW -- the withs 
>seem to go much better with REALISE.

Similarly, Karl-Erik McCullough suggests that
> you consider constructing sentences in which an instrumental
>reading of the adverbial is reinforced by a change of state leading to
>"knowing", and others in which a manner reading of the adverbial is 
>paired with a scalar or change of state reading of "knowing":

>With a couple of beers, John knew the answer.

Various people have suggested 'with luck' as attaching successfully to
>With any luck, I should know by tomrrow.

Max Copperman suggests:
> With his mind, John knew it was safe to jump, but his muscles
> refused to obey. With his head, John knew she lied, but his heart
> wanted to believe.

Martha O'Kennon suggests a different meaning of 'know':
>With Mary, John at last knew happiness.

Steven Schaufele suggests the Biblical meaning of 'know' also licenses
>It seems to me that the inability of `know' in its usual sense to
>collocate with a projection of `with' is completely explainable on
>semantic grounds: In its usual sense, `knowing' is not done in any
>particular manner, it's simply there; in fact, it isn't really
>`done' at all. Likewise, it's something one `does' on one's own, or
>not at all; it's not a joint or communal activity. And there's no
>instrument or tool that contributes to it (in this respect it is not
>synonymous with `study'.)

Similarly, Chris Whincop points out that
>it all comes down to what you can realistically know someone with. 
>You can recognise someone with a telescope, but not know them.
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