Showing posts with label prepositions. Show all posts
Showing posts with label prepositions. Show all posts

12 September 2021

Propositions


Fran RizerI once attended a book talk/signing by a true crime writer at a southern bed and breakfast in a beautiful old two-story, white columned house in Columbia, SC. Sitting around in the elegant parlor, the ladies chatted about literature and artsy things. Luncheon was served on pre-war (that's the Civil War) china in the formal dining room before the writer began her talk. I've read her books. They are all well-written, and, no, I won't name her because of what I'm about to tell you.

I was listening, but not totally attentive because I was off on one of my "What if?" daydreams that frequently turn into scenes in my books.

She said, "I listened at him, and he told me all about the murder."

Listened AT him? I sat up straighter and listened TO her more attentively. How could a professionally published author commit such a faux pas? I don't remember another word she said. My mind wandered to the Preposition Proposition. (Bet you thought that title was headed elsewhere, but would you really have read this far if my heading were "Prepositions?")

Back when I taught English, I dealt with parts of speech including prepositions. By definition, a preposition is, "______________________."

Prepositions are one of the few ______________________. I asked my students to memorize. Most of them could name ______________________.

How about you? How many prepositions can you list? (Do it now before you read to the bottom of this blog.)

Okay, prepositions are a part of speech; they show relationships; and their usage varies in different regions. The writer/speaker turned out to be from South Carolina's lowcountry (not a typo; it's written as a closed compound.) In that area, people listen AT instead of TO.

Proper Preposition Usage.

Pages and pages of instructions on proper usage left me with a few that stand out. Different?
The rule is that things are different FROM each other, not different THAN.

One that always puzzles me is standing ON line opposed to IN line. In the United States South, students and shoppers stand IN line, but on the news, lots of people stand ON line. Of course, nowadays almost everyone is online, but I don't think it has anything to do with waiting AT the cafeteria or to go INTO the movies.

My nosey self read her books again. Nobody listened AT anything. I decided her proofreader had edited some of the lowcountry colloquilisms from her work.

How many prepositions did you list? Here's my list. No, I didn't write it from memory. I looked it up in a fourth-grade grammar book.

• about
• above
• around
• at
• by
• for
• from
• in
• into
• of
• off
• on
• out
• over
• to
• under


Until we meet again… take care of YOU!



I met Fran at my first and thus far only MWA gathering in New York. A new author and a new member, she announced a publishing contract for her first Callie Parrish cosy. After retirement from teaching, Fran faced a choice of moving to Florida to die or starting her dream career of writing.

We became friends and occasionally chatted late at night. She was an incorrigible flirt (yes, worse than I am) and hitting her 70s didn’t slow her down.

Fran’s cousin and best friend since childhood was Linda. They’d double-dated, served as each other’s bridesmaids, and were neighbors in Columbia, South Carolina. Linda organized Callie events and underpinned the Callie fan club.

Then Linda was murdered.

During a home invasion, a robber became a killer.

Fran was devastated. She stopped writing. She stopped interacting.

We chatted every few weeks. I knew she had more writing in her and began to encourage her. I offered her a slot on Criminal Brief if she wanted to announce coming out of retirement.

It took a year, but to my pleasant surprise, Fran accepted. Not only did she announce her unretirement, she grabbed that forum to tell the world her darkest secret, that Linda was a victim of a terrible homicide.

Fran herself died on Christmas Eve two years ago. She left nearly a dozen unfinished articles in SleuthSayers development queue. Most are fragmentary, one is semi-complete but an editing mess, but she’d marked this one ready to go. Her death was such a sore spot, we held it until now. {Rob butts in to say: the three blank spots in this piece were gaps she clearly intended to fill in later.  We lave left them as she did.]  Here is Fran with grammar advice followed by her signature wrapup…

Until we meet again… take care of YOU.

— Leigh

09 November 2018

The Power of Prepositions


Far away and four times a thousand and one nights ago, this tale appeared in Criminal Brief. Dial in a little Rimsky-Korsakov and read on.


The Power of Prepositions
by Leigh Lundin

Aladdin was getting along in years and found that he was unable to pitch a tent as he had done in his youth. Smart as well as lucky, Aladdin still had his magic lamp and, frugal with his wishes, he had one wish left.
He rubbed his lamp and the génie appeared. Aladdin begged him, “My camel can no longer thread the needle. Can you cure my erectile impotence?”
Genie said, “I can whisk away your problem.” With that, he rubbed his hands, evoking a puff of billowing blue smoke. Genie said, “I’ve dealt you a powerful spell, but at your age, you’ll be able to invoke it only once a year.”
“How do I use it?” asked Aladdin.
“All you have to do is say ‘one, two, three,’ and it shall rise for as long as you wish, but only once a year.”
Aladdin asked, “What happens when I’m exhausted and I no longer want to continue?”
Genie replied, “All you or your lady has to say is ‘one, two, three, four,’ and it will fade like a Sahara sunset. But be warned: the spell will not work again for another year.”
Aladdin galloped home, eager to try out his new powers of the flesh. That evening, Aladdin bathed away the dust of the desert and scented himself with oil of exotic myrrh. He climbed into bed where his resigned wife lay turned away, about to slip into Scheherazadic dreams.
Aladdin took a deep breath and said, “One, two, three.” Instantly, he became more aroused than he ever had in youth, a magnificent happenstance of tree-trunk proportions.
His wife, hearing Aladdin’s words, rolled back toward him and said, “What did you say ‘one, two, three,’ for?”
And that, dear readers, is why you should not end a sentence with a preposition.

23 December 2013

Hanging In, Hanging Out, Hanging On



I'm certain someone taught you all about prepositions long ago, but this cartoon caught my eye, and I decided that would be my topic today.  Rather than make this seem like a lesson, I've written an exercise to see how much you remember from those old school days. Please decide on your answers before going to the bottom to check them.   


QUESTIONS

1.  What's the difference between a preposition and a proposition?

2.  Who recorded "The Preposition Song"?  Why is it called that?

3.  Who is credited with coining the rule that writers shouldn't end sentences with prepositions?




4.  What word should "of" never replace?

5.  What preposition should be used with the word "different"?

6.  Who responded to an editor's demand that a sentence be        reworded because it ended with a preposition with this statement:
"This is the sort of English up with which I cannot put"?

ANSWERS

1. A preposition shows a relationship while a proposition sometimes starts a relationship.
Tanya Tucker

2.  Tanya Tucker recorded "Hanging In."  The hook for the chorus is "Hanging in, hanging out, hanging on."

3. John Dryden, a seventeenth century poet, is credited with the rule against ending a sentence with a preposition.  Throughout history, writers have sometimes broken this rule.  Sometimes the preposition at the end of a sentence is needed while at other times, it is unnecessary and incorrect.
John Dryden

Examples:  Where is the dog? Correct.  Where is the dog at? Incorrect.
That is something I cannot agree with. Correct.
Which team are you on?  Correct.  Note that Which team are you? changes the meaning. 

4.  "Of" should never replace "have." 
Example:  I should have known he would do that.  Correct.
I should of known he would do that. Incorrect. 

5.  Grammatically correct according to text books is the phrase "different from," but that's a frequent error made by many speakers and writers who use "different than."
Winston Churchill

6.  That sentence is attributed to Sir Winston Churchill.

BONUS QUESTION 1
What's wrong with the answer to question two?

BONUS QUESTION 2 (Multiple Choice)
Which is proper?
(A) between you and I
(B) between you and me
(C) between me and you


BONUS QUESTION 1 ANSWER
In the answer to question 2, the "in," "out," and "on" aren't used as prepositions.  They're are all used as adverbs modifying "hanging."

BONUS QUESTION 2 ANSWER
Many people say or write (A) between you and I.  For some reason, they think "I" sounds "more proper."  (A) is incorrect. 

Even more people, who don't care if they're proper or not, use (C) between me and you.  (C) is incorrect because grammatically "you" is named before the speaker.  

The correct answer is (B) between you and me because between is a preposition and the correct usage is to follow a preposition with the objective case of a pronoun, which is "me," while "I is the subjective case.

A personal question from me to you... I hope I haven't insulted anyone with these questions.  I'm sure all of our readers and writers made a perfect score. Now I have a question that I'd really like every one of you to answer through comments.

DO YOU STAND IN LINE OR ON LINE?

In the South, we stand in line to wait for something.  We tell children, "Please get in line," but many non-southerners say, "I had to stand on line to get the tickets."

What do you say and can anyone find a definitive answer whether in line is correct or on line?

Until we meet again, take care of … you!