Simon thereupon went to his father and said:

“You are rich, batiushika [little father], but you have given nothing to me. Give me one-third of what you possess as my share, and I will transfer it to my estate.”

The old man replied: “You did not help to bring prosperity to our household. For what reason, then, should you now demand the third part of everything? It would be unjust to Ivan and his sister.”

“Yes,” said Simon; “but he is a fool, and she was born dumb. What need have they of anything?”

-- Ivan the Fool, tr. by Count Norraikow

Is of anything the complement for need or does it have adverbial role as prepositional phrase?

  • Why are you formatting your questions so strangely all of a sudden? Paragraphs don't need an indent in electronic writing, and you don't need to use <br> tags in stack-exchange - a double new line gives a paragraph break which is more pleasing to the eye than a single line-break :)
    – Matt
    Nov 10, 2013 at 1:11

1 Answer 1


In older English one spoke of having need of something—“I have need of a kangaroo”—where today we speak of a need for something—“I have a need for a kangaroo”. So this is in fact

  • a prepositional phrase which serves as
  • the complement of the noun need, the preposition being required to mark the complement of the nominal which corresponds to the
  • direct object of the verb from which the noun is derived.

It's a common construction. For instance, if we translate the verb possess in the sentence

I possess three kangaroos.

into the noun possession, we must use the same preposition of to designate the object:

I am in possession of three kangaroos.

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