A nonexhaustive list of senses which are much more specialized and idiosyncratic than the coarse-grained supersenses. They are also generally rare. (Perhaps we should call these "microsenses".)

See senses at The Preposition Project (TPP)


such NP as VP cxn
  • such words as may comfort you


  • behind the wheel; behind the counter


Individual instantiating a role
  • You've got a friend in me
  • especially, someone serving an important role, such as a political candidate: "In Mehmet Oz, Herschel Walker and JD Vance, the Republican party has three celebrities running for Senate in November." (The Guardian)
  • person as a conduit for an action (used by no less an authority than the pope)
Musical key

In V-ing adjunct cxn#

seems to favor nonvolitional results. But evaluations may be different ("He was justified in X-ing", "He was helpful in X-ing").

  • query

  • Collins

    You use in with a present participle to indicate that when you do something, something else happens as a result.

    • In working with others, you find out more about yourself.
  • Longman

    26 while doing something or while something is happening, and as a result of this in doing something

    • In trying to protect the queen, Howard had put his own life in danger.

interest(ed) in V-ing#

"interested in seeing a movie" versus "interested to see a movie": a theory and some corpus evidence


Causal discourse connective: old-fashioned
  • They stared, for they had never before seen such a creature.
(are these idiom-specific?)
  • can’t see the forest for the trees
  • not for want of trying


Evaluee of degree-modified adjective
  • Is it really that good OF a restaurant?
  • They are too big OF a threat.
Gossip Construction
(Goldberg and Herbst 2021)
  • It's nice/good OF you to be here.
Property/part evaluee of non-degree-modified adjective
  • Cinderella’s stepsisters were beautiful OF face, but vile and black OF heart.
  • I am slow OF speech and slow OF tongue.


Assigned Duty/Role, Musical Instrument in a Performance
  • Ringo Starr on drums
  • He is on guard duty
Bearer of Responsibility
esp. financial responsibility
  • It's on you to make the case for the project.
  • Drinks are on me!
  • traveling on the taxpayer's dime
  • I'm on heart medication
(see course paper by Jessica Cusi)
  • My parents are on me about getting a summer job.
  • I'm on the third episode of the series.
  • on a hat trick (see course paper by Caroline Gish)
sustaining fuel/resource
  • work on 3 hours’ sleep
  • running on an empty tank
  • making a decision on very little information
Target of opposition
arraying of literal or metaphorical force against some opponent. cf. TPP sense 11(5) OEC examples
  • [contest, e.g. fight or sport] man-on-man fight; cf. team1 takes on team2
  • [military/law enforcement] attack/assault on Pearl Harbor; war on drugs; firing on targets; "FBI moves on alleged members of extremist groups"; raid on bin Laden's compound
  • [advocacy] march on Washington


something that can be accessed with an associated instrument or part; or something with an associated quality (discussion)
  • key to the door; entry to the room
  • There is a nice texture to the painting
Result infinitive
unexpected discovery prompted by a manner of gaining information (going somewhere, change of awareness)
  • I awoke/arrived (only) to find...

perhaps related to "suprised/disappointed to find..."

  • To health and prosperity!


Adjective's cause
  • His hands were black with soot.
  • They listened to the inspirational speech, their eyes wet with tears.
  • I was numb with shock.

possessive: 's, `$, ...#

Superlative Object Construction