I would like to know which of "on" and "of" is correct for the sentence below.

The speed limit on/of this road is 50km/h.


The limit on refers to a situation when a limit is imposed externally.

Of is used when we are talking about something that is limited by its own characteristics.

For example,

the limits of our imagination.


the limit of our intelligence

No one has imposed limits on someone's imagination or intelligence; it cannot grow further because it just can't.

However, the example that you are giving is not a case of a combinatorial capacity of the word "limit". "The speed limit" is a standalone noun phrase, and "on this road" is an adverbial phrase.

If I were to ask a question pertaining to your sentence (because, for example, I haven't heard you right), I would say "The speed limit where?"

In the case of "limit of our intelligence", the question would be "A limit of what?"

See how in your case, the preposition disappears (because it's not attached to the word "limit"), but in the second case, the preposition stays on—because it is "tied to" the word "limit".

  • I appreciate those sources! Great answer :) – Jessica Tiberio Jan 29 '18 at 22:37

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