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Part of Speech[edit]

I've been wondering what part of speech would be correct for the basic use of plus and minus. Here on Wiktionary we have "ditransitive verb", which I'm sure is wrong.

My best guess was either conjunction or preposition. Oddly, lists "plus" as a conjunction and "minus" as a preposition, even though their example sentences are completely equivalent:

  • Ten minus four is six
  • Two plus two is four

I think we're both wrong. — Hippietrail 22:42, 2 Mar 2005 (UTC)

RFM discussion: March–October 2011[edit]


The following discussion has been moved from Wiktionary:Requests for moves, mergers and splits (permalink).

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Claimed to be a conjunction. It looks like a preposition to me. Also to all OneLook dictionaries, except Cobuild. DCDuring TALK 14:44, 16 March 2011 (UTC)

The same applies to times and other arithmetic operators. I am not as sure about truly mathematical binary operators, but in ordinary use there is a clear sense that the "minus X" modifies the quantity preceding. BTW, is the corresponding Japanese term considered a conjunction? DCDuring TALK 14:53, 16 March 2011 (UTC)
Most binary mathematical operators (plus, minus, times, …) indeed behave like prepositions grammatically. Some are even named after prepositions: over (in the sense of divided by), of (function application: "f of x"). I would even go as far as to challenge anyone to come up with another grammatical analysis of mathematical expressions than that the binary operators are in fact prepositions. 13:09, 6 October 2011 (UTC)
Also, the existing definition is in the form of a noun def and should be revised in any event. DCDuring TALK 14:55, 16 March 2011 (UTC)