Linguist Forum

Specializations => Morphosyntax => Topic started by: LinguistSkeptic on November 19, 2017, 09:32:19 PM

Title: What is "plus" as a part of speech?
Post by: LinguistSkeptic on November 19, 2017, 09:32:19 PM
So, what is "plus" (as in "two plus two equals four") as a part of speech? Is it a conjunction or a preposition? Or maybe something else?
Title: Re: What is "plus" as a part of speech?
Post by: Daniel on November 20, 2017, 03:58:37 AM
Labels like "conjunction" or "preposition" do not have inherent meaning without a specific definition (either arbitrary or defined within a theory). So it depends on how you analyze them.

But in general, I would say that "plus" is more like a preposition than a conjunction because the agreement is singular:
Two plus two equals four.
Two and two equal four.

Another argument that could be made is that it is a sort of metalinguistic structure that doesn't exactly play by the rules of normal syntax. It's not necessarily a natural part of language but something that comes out of mapping mathematics onto spoken English so it might not really follow general English rules. But it seems to work out at least superficially like a regular preposition, right?