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I can't pinpoint why, but the OF in to be predicated OF has been bothering me. I read user John Lawler's comment, but still don't understand user TRomano's comment .

Please pinpoint which definition of OF matches the use in: to be predicated OF?
Please ensure to specify its number (as per ODO's enumeration of the many definitions).

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    For some reason, the somewhy in your question bothers me. Maybe because the only two entries in the OED for this word are from 1861 +/- three years. Are you trying to write in esoteric, outdated, rare English?
    – user6951
    Feb 3, 2015 at 22:43
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    @δοῦλος Sorry for any confusion. No; I'm trying to use the shortest words whenever possible, because I worry that long posts may discourage people.
    – user8712
    Feb 3, 2015 at 22:49
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    Using esoteric language discourages me.
    – user6951
    Feb 3, 2015 at 22:49
  • @δοῦλος I'm sorry. I had thought that if this figured in urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=somewhy, then it'd be fine.
    – user8712
    Feb 3, 2015 at 22:54
  • It cannot be predicated of Law Area 51 Proposal - Commit (hereinafter "LA51PC") that LA51PC is in possession of a decent dictionary.
    – TimR
    Feb 4, 2015 at 14:39

2 Answers 2

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It can (honestly) be said of Yao Ming that he is tall.

The preposition of there means something a little different than about. One might paraphrase that statement so:

Tallness is a quality that Yao Ming has, and to say so is to speak the truth.

When we predicate a quality or property of a subject, we are stating that the subject possesses that quality or property.

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  • Thanks. Would you please just identify which definition of of and the number from ODO matches the use here?
    – user8712
    May 13, 2015 at 16:02
  • Will you please respond in your answer, which is easier to read than comments?
    – user8712
    May 13, 2015 at 16:03
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I'm not sure the questioner and answerer are speaking about the same kind of predicate (rhymes with Kate).

In linguistics, the verb "to predicate" is closely bound to the noun "predicate", and means, roughly, as others have stated , "to say something [about X] ". In this sense, you can reasonably say "A predicates X of B."

Outside of linguistics, "predicated" is almost always paired with on (or, not so commonly nowadays, upon), which means something more like "dependent on": (that is, if "B is predicated on A", it means that B cannot occur unless A occurs first.

  • The success of the launch is predicated on the skill of the engineers.

  • "There is a law, irrevocably decreed in Heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated—and when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated." (Doctrine & Covenants 130:20–21)

Oh, and as to the question about the meaning of "of" in "predicated of: the of is used in sense 5 as listed in ODO:

  • "indicating the relationship between a verb and an indirect object"
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  • Done. See my edited answer above. May 14, 2015 at 10:32
  • Thanks again. Sorry to bother you again, but may I ask if you could please expand on this meaning of "of" here? I see that it indicates the relationship between a verb and an indirect object, but what more can be said? 'of' still confuses me.
    – user8712
    May 16, 2015 at 17:37
  • Just substitute "said about" for predicated of". As I wrote in my answer above, A predicates X of B means A says X about B. May 17, 2015 at 7:32
  • Thanks again. I understand the meaning of the sentence A predicates X of B. However, I was asking only about the preposition of here. It still feels strange to me. Would you please be able to explain more?
    – user8712
    May 18, 2015 at 0:37
  • Sorry it sounds strange to you. I hope you can get used to it. May 18, 2015 at 8:41

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