“end up” peculiar properties

Just putting together a lexical lesson on making life changes and thought I’d use a sentence with ‘end up’. However, when I ran through various sample sentences I noticed that it is quite an unusual beast in that it licenses verb+ing phrases, adjective phrases and prepositional phrases and noun phrases.


  1. I ended up drunk and broke. (AdjP)
  2. That’s how I ended up here. (PP)
  3. I ended up without a penny to my name. (PP)
  4. I ended up running the company. (V+ing)
  5. He ended up a hero. (NP)

Thus it would seem to form complex transitive clauses, the complements describing the state of the ‘subject’ (or predicand). Kind of meaning ‘at the end of the story [the subject] was’.

Yet because it ends with ‘up’ (a preposition) – you’d expect it just to licence verb+ing or a noun phrase.

So what is it exactly – any ideas?


All the phrases following up here are commonly found as predicative complements. Here are some more examples of such predicative complements:

  • Don’t get her angry (AdjP)
  • Get her here as soon as possible (PP)
  • Get her into the taxi. (PP)
  • I got her running errands for me. (V+ing)
  • I am a nutter (NP – I don’t think this sense of GET allows NP’s as predicative complement so I’ve had to use the verb BE instead).

The predicative complements here are complements of get. In the Original Poster’s examples, the preposition up is a complement of the verb END. However, the Original Poster’s predicative complements are not complements of the preposition up, they are complements of verb END. In other words the verb end is taking two complements here.

(Assuming that here is a preposition in the OP’s examples) END is a verb and up is a preposition functioning as a complement of that verb. The predicative complements the OP describes are also complements of the verb, not the preposition.

Source : Link , Question Author : thecrease , Answer Author : Ghost

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