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Is "up to" a preposition?

Example sentence: You can set up to 70% Also is it the object of the sentence? Or it acts as prepositional phrase that modifies "set"?

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  • Could you give us some more context, or a more complete sentence? – snailplane Oct 14 '17 at 22:48
  • This is unclear - 70% of what? – G Tony Jacobs Oct 15 '17 at 3:58
  • Yes, "up to" is a preposition phrase functioning as a determiner in the noun phrase "up to 70%" which is the direct object of "set". – BillJ Oct 15 '17 at 10:12
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I think it's likely, that "up to 70%" would be classified as a prepositional phrase that modifies "set". Is there a particular reason you need to know?

It is not the object of the sentence. This sentence is an ellipsis with the direct object omitted. The full sentence would include the direct object:

You can set (the value) up to 70%

As written, you'd have to already know the direct object from previous context.

You can also argue that, "you can set up to 70%," is a sentence fragment and not a complete sentence. At the least, it should include some pronoun like "it":

You can set it up to 70%.

It's not wrong to speak in sentence fragments, although it can be confusing for the listener. Written English, however, should include only complete sentences -- except of course when writing creative prose, poetry, dialogue, and any other time the writer doesn't feel like it.

[Edit] Apparently this is incorrect. I'm just going to reprint BillJ's answer:

The bracketed element is a noun phrase functioning as object of “set”.

70% is called a ‘fused-head partitive’ construction where 70% is a noun whose of PP complement is missing but can be represented by "x": “You can set up to 70% of x”, where the meaning of "x" is retrievable form the context.

The crucial point is that the preposition phrase “up to” is a determiner in the noun phrase “up to 70% (of x)” functioning as object of "set".

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    Sorry, Andrew, but I wouldn't go along with that -- please see my answer. – BillJ Oct 15 '17 at 9:56
  • @BillJ no worries, I figured someone with more linguistic know-how would correct me if I'm wrong. Is there anything accurate in my answer or is it completely off-base? – Andrew Oct 16 '17 at 0:23
  • It's a shame really, as it's a nicely crafted answer, and it got the green tick from the OP. Could you edit it perhaps? – BillJ Oct 16 '17 at 12:00
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You can set [up to 70%].

The bracketed element is a noun phrase functioning as object of “set”.

70% is called a ‘fused-head partitive’ construction where 70% is a noun whose of PP complement is missing but can be represented by "x": “You can set up to 70% of x”, where the meaning of "x" is retrievable form the context.

The crucial point is that the preposition phrase “up to” is a determiner in the noun phrase “up to 70% (of x)” functioning as object of "set".

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