Grammar Question

What part of speech is the word like in this sentence?
What 's the weather [color=red]like[/color] in March?
Interogative, verb, article, noun, ?, prep, noun?

Ski

Parts of speech are wholly unsatisfactory and not cast in stone. I’d say it belongs in the preposition category in your example: it bonds closely to the noun and could be removed (so it’s not a verb). Consider also

What’s the book [color=red]about[/color]?

[quote=“ski”]What part of speech is the word like in this sentence?
What 's the weather [color=red]like[/color] in March?
Interogative, verb, article, noun, ?, prep, noun?

Ski[/quote]

Ok but remove the prep phrase. “in Januay”

What’s the weather like?

What’s the weather like today?

It can’t be a preposition in these cases. In the first example you could not end a sentence with a preposition.
It’s not a verb, which is clear.

[quote=“ski”][quote=“ski”]What part of speech is the word like in this sentence?
What 's the weather [color=red]like[/color] in March?
Interogative, verb, article, noun, ?, prep, noun?

Ski[/quote][/quote]

I really have no idea, having never learned grammar formally, but looking up the ‘eight parts of speech’ I’m going to guess ‘adverb’. It doesn’t really seem to fit in any of them, but it replaces the adverbial term.

What’s the weather like?
It’s cloudy/sunny/rainy.

Really, I’m just hazarding a suggestion - I’m actually suprised there aren’t more generally accepted parts of speech!

Oh god, Ski, don’t tell me you have to teach that kind of stuff to your students. If you’re not being ordered to do so by your laoban maybe you should just forgedaboudit and do something else.

[quote=“daasgrrl”]I really have no idea, having never learned grammar formally, but looking up the ‘eight parts of speech’ I’m going to guess ‘adverb’. It doesn’t really seem to fit in any of them, but it replaces the adverbial term.

What’s the weather like?
It’s cloudy/sunny/rainy.

Really, I’m just hazarding a suggestion - I’m actually suprised there aren’t more generally accepted parts of speech![/quote]

Yes, there is something about the adverb to it. Adverbs, though, are the most amorphous part of speech.

It’s not just parts of speech that are not generally accepted. There are also different grammars, such as Chomsky’s transformational grammar, Hudson’s word grammar, and my favourite, Halliday’s systemic functional grammar. Go figure (about?). :laughing:

Don’t worry. It’s just for me. I would like to know along with most grammarians in my office. No one can offer a resonable answer.

PS to everyone

It’s not an adverb because it replaces an adjective not an adverb as mentioned earlier.

What’s the weather like in March?
It’s rainy in March.
Pronoun, verb, Adjective, prep, Noun

Like seems to be floating around like a grade 1 student in a English class. There but no Idea.

Ski

OK, I’ve just realised the above descriptions cloudy, rainy etc. are adjectives, not adverbs, so that’s what I mean. D’oh! Told you I didn’t know from grammar. Webster-Merriam also seems to indicate ‘adjective’ because I think the question is asking ‘what’s the weather the same as?’

Main Entry: 3like
Function: adjective
Etymology: Middle English, alteration of ilich, from Old English gelIc like, alike, from ge-, associative prefix + lIc body; akin to Old High German gilIh like, alike, Lithuanian lygus like – more at CO-
1 a : the same or nearly the same (as in appearance, character, or quantity) – formerly used with as, unto, of <it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren – Heb 2:17(Authorized Version)> b chiefly British : closely resembling the subject or original

I think it can be a preposition or an adverb (modifying the stative verb), but with the same function suggesting similarity, having the qualities of, or as if.

This discussion shows how impractical parts of speech labels are. Halliday’s approach to grammar is superior because it looks at meaning. In the sentence, what…like is a frame that equates to how:

What is the weather like? = How is the weather?

Thus, analyzing the separate constituents is unhelpful and potentially meaningless.

[quote=“Closet Queen”]This discussion shows how impractical parts of speech labels are. Halliday’s approach to grammar is superior because it looks at meaning. In the sentence, what…like is a frame that equates to how:

What is the weather like? = How is the weather?

Thus, analyzing the separate constituents is unhelpful and potentially meaningless.[/quote]

I’m curious to know what Halliday is all about? What’s it like? How is it? What may it be likened to? What kind of approach?

[quote=“Closet Queen”]This discussion shows how impractical parts of speech labels are. Halliday’s approach to grammar is superior because it looks at meaning. In the sentence, what…like is a frame that equates to how:

What is the weather like? = How is the weather?

Thus, analyzing the separate constituents is unhelpful and potentially meaningless.[/quote]

That is true but it still begs the question:

“What part of speech is it?”

[quote=“ski”][quote=“Closet Queen”]This discussion shows how impractical parts of speech labels are. Halliday’s approach to grammar is superior because it looks at meaning. In the sentence, what…like is a frame that equates to how:

What is the weather like? = How is the weather?

Thus, analyzing the separate constituents is unhelpful and potentially meaningless.[/quote]

That is true but it still begs the question:

“What part of speech is it?”[/quote]

I don’t quite agree with your grammar logic.

First, generally, “like” can act as a
preposition
adjective
adverb
conjunction
(a few others e.g colloquial)
depending on the context.

That the sentence ends in “like” (what is the weather like) does not exclude it from being a preposition necessarily.
I also don’t agree that it’s not an adverb based on your stated reason that it replaces the …

my 2 cents.

[quote=“ski”]That is true but it still begs the question:

“What part of speech is it?”[/quote]

I’m not sure who Jack is disagreeing with, but it is not possible to answer Ski’s question using a parts of speech grammar model because such a grammar is fundamentally flawed. If a grammar can allow a word to be simultaneously, say, a preposition or adverb, it is of no use. It is for this reason that modern grammars have thrown out many of these terms in favour of wider categories such as determiners and adjuncts - see the Cobuild English Grammar.

Now, if What…like=How in this instance, then both words (What and like) are part of one interrogative pronoun. But, of course, parts of speech grammar insists on separate categories for individual words, so we can’t have that.

Traditionally, one way to determine tricky parts of speech was to substitute other words to see what works. Then you can determine the most likely candidate, e.g.

What’s the weather like? (?)
What’s the weather now? (adverb)
What’s the weather doing? (verb)
What’s the weather up to? (preposition)

Not terribly helpful, and it yields multiple possibilities.

You can also examine the possible distribution of the word, e.g.

What like is the weather?
What is like the weather?
Like what is the weather?

Only the last one preserves the meaning and is more or less acceptable. So it would appear that like can be moved front and back like many prepositions used with interrogatives. Therefore you can claim like is a preposition, which it can be.

Parts of speech are wholly unsatisfactory for understanding grammar. This is one reason why a meaning-based grammar is superior because it recognises that separating what from like is unhelpful.

From Collins Co-build dictionary–

2	like  
If you talk about what something or someone is like, you are talking about their qualities or features.
    What was Bulgaria like?.
    What did she look like?.
    What was it like growing up in Hillsborough?.
    Joe still has no concept of what it's like to be the sole parent.
[b]PREP [/b] 

like
Like is used with one meaning as a preposition or conjunction, and with another meaning as a verb.

used as a preposition
If one person or thing is like another, they have similar characteristics or behave in a similar way.
    He looked like Clark Gable.
    The lake was like a bright blue mirror.

[b]If you ask someone what something is like, you are asking them to describe it.[/b]
    What was Essex like?
    What did they taste like?

So, Ski, I think like is being uses a preposition in your example.

[quote]What like is the weather?
[/quote]
This is the most common form if you’re speaking in the Doric of Scotland’s northeast.

It’s a preposition occurring in a bound form with an interrogative.

Examples:
What’s the weather like?
What’s the book about?
What’s that thing for?

“What’s the weather like?” is unusual only because the prepostition (“like”) does not occur in the answer. However, look at other examples of the same construction, where the preposition does, or can, occur in the answer:
What’s the house like? It’s like a palace. or: It’s big.
What’s your mother-in-law like? She’s like a dragon. or: She’s a bit difficult.

The fact that English has lost the ability to answer “What’s the weather like?” with “It’s like a rainy day.” does not obscure the fact that it’s the same structure, and thus the same part of speech.

Actually, it is possible to use the preposition in the answer, it’s just not very common:
What’s the weather like? It’s like hell.

Thank you all.

It is confirmed. All who claimed it is a preposition are right.

Thanks.

PS over 100 people looked at this post and only 5-6 people could venture to answer this question. Hmmm? Makes one wonder about the English Teachers round here? :wink:

Oh, don’t be harsh! Reminds me of a Gore Vidal anecdote during his screenwriting days: When pointing out errors in a fellow screenwriter’s manuscript, the chap replied, “I don’t do grammar”. :unamused:

[quote=“bababa”]
What’s the weather like? It’s like hell.[/quote]

Exactly, in fact it’s not really unusual, the like is there because what implies a noun answer which would tend to require the proposition as in your example. Compare How’s the weather? which would imply an adjective answer, so no preposition.