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Query Details

Query Subject:   Grammatical Category of Worth
Author:   Karen Stanley
Submitter Email:  click here to access email

Linguistic LingField(s):  Syntax

Query:   In the sentence,

''The rainforests are worth preserving.''

an advanced ESL reading textbook calls 'worth' an adjective, as does the
Newbury House dictionary (with the example, ''Her dress is worth $100.'')

The Collins CoBuild Advanced Dictionary calls it V-I (yes, intransitive
verb, which seems a great deal stranger, even after looking at the examples
- further explanation of this from list members would be welcome) and gives
the examples:

He's decided to get a look at the house and see if it might be worth buying.
Most things worth having never come easy.

A very old Jespersen's ''A Modern English Grammar,'' of the phrase 'worth
while' says that 'worth' has evolved into a preposition, and 'while' is its

I would be interested in opinions about the grammatical category of [worth]
in the initial sentence.

Karen Stanley
Charlotte, North Carolina, USA
LL Issue: 19.3748
Date posted: 07-Dec-2008


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