(1) The book is on the desk.
(2) I went to my favorite cafe.
(3) This present is for her.

the prepositional phrases / 前置詞句{ぜんちしく}:

(1) ... on the desk.
(2) ... to my favorite cafe.
(3) ... for her.

the prepositions / 前置詞{ぜんちし}:

(1) on;
(2) to;
(3) for;

the prepositional objects:

(1) desk;
(2) cafe;
(3) her;

What is the formal linguistic term for a prepositional object in Japanese?

My native speaker sources suggested "前置詞句の目的語" and "前置詞句の補語", but they admitted to being unsure.

  • Eijiro suggests [前置詞]{ぜんちし}付{つ}き[目的語]{もくてきご}, FWIW. – Eiríkr Útlendi Jan 30 '16 at 2:39
  • A Google search suggests that this term is in use. – Eiríkr Útlendi Jan 30 '16 at 2:46
  • 1
    @EiríkrÚtlendi In use, but rare. – snailcar Jan 30 '16 at 3:53
  • @snailboat for that matter, the English term is 初耳 for me. :) – Eiríkr Útlendi Jan 30 '16 at 6:08
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    @EiríkrÚtlendi Indirect objects are completely different:: "I gave Jim the map.":: "Jim" is the indirect object, and "map" is the direct object. – david Jan 30 '16 at 7:13

I've heard ''前置詞の目的語''.
It means the partner of the prepositional, not a role in a sentence.

''前置詞の目的語'' can be used even when the prepositional phrase is not regarded as a kind of the object in the sentence.

I'm waiting for her.
I made a cake for my children with her.
I'm interesting in ethnic food.

These words in italics are all ''前置詞の目的語''.

  • Actually, I just learned "前置詞の補語". Do you think "前置詞補語" sounds natural in a conversation? Would most Japanese know that 専門用語? – david Jan 31 '16 at 2:54
  • I also actually learned ''前置詞の目的語''. I think the term ''補語'' is less popular than ''目的語''. Now I googled both of them, it seemed ''前置詞の目的語'' is used mainly. – Toshihiko Jan 31 '16 at 3:11
  • @david 前置詞の補語 is a more technically neutral term, but if you're talking about that of English, 前置詞の目的語 should be the best, for that's how it's taught. – broccoli forest Jan 31 '16 at 4:43
  • @david Oh, and 前置詞補語 is NG. It'd mean an "preposition as complement". – broccoli forest Jan 31 '16 at 4:52

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