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Consider the following sentence:

I am sitting in the car across the street.

Do we say that there are two prepositional phrases in the sentence modifying "sitting" (in the car, across the street)?

Or do we say that there is one prepositional phrase modifying "sitting" (in the car), and then another prepositional phrase modifying "car" (across the street)? In this case it looks like there is one prepositional phrase inside of another.

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  • [The most likely reading is that:] the verb sitting is taking the preposition phrase (PP) in the car across the street as a Locative Complement (the PP is not modifying the verb!). Within this PP the noun car is being modified by the PP across the street. [There is a less likely reading which we could paraphrase as Across the street, the man is sitting in the car. In this reading in the car is the Locative Complement of sitting and Across the street is an Adjunct (sentence Modifier). Oct 12, 2021 at 2:07
  • The most plausible analysis is that the PP "in the car across the street" is a complement of sitting, in which the PP "across the street" is modifying "car".
    – BillJ
    Oct 12, 2021 at 7:06

1 Answer 1

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In terms of grammar, it can be analyzed several ways. Here's the first three I found:

"I am sitting in the car and I am sitting across the street."
"I am sitting in the car which is across the street."
"I am sitting in the car and I am across the street."

where "across the street" modifies the subject "I" in the last one.

The best fit is "I'm sitting in the car which is across the street" because it would be more natural to put "across the street" before "in the car" in the other two sentences:

"I am sitting across the street in the car."
"I am across the street sitting in the car."

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  • Thanks. It seems like in the previous example, you were able to link two prepositional phrases to two separate verbs. What about something like this? "I went to NYC with my brother"
    – user144672
    Oct 12, 2021 at 0:36
  • What do you think?
    – gotube
    Oct 12, 2021 at 1:53
  • Then is this sentence "I am sitting in the car across the street" still correct even when the sentence is written to mean "I am sitting in the car" and "I am sitting across the street"?
    – GKK
    Oct 27, 2022 at 14:06

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