Prepositions and propositions I can’t get used to

Yes, the title sentence of this blog ends in a preposition. I imagine some readers are wincing, but I grew up after this usage had become commonplace, so (to paraphrase Winston Churchill) ending a sentence in a preposition is a practice up with which I can comfortably put.

On the other hand, many changes that occurred after my grammatical circuits had been laid down don’t sit quite as well with me. Hate on you and love on you, for one. What was wrong with the ol’ hate you and love you? What did the addition of the preposition “on” accomplish?

At the other end of the prepositional spectrum, I’ve been noticing the expression “feel you” crop up with increasing frequency. I’m not talking about two people palpating each other in the dark. The expression I’m referring to (or to which I’m referring, to placate the old-timers) is in the process of replacing the old “feel for you.” As far as I can tell, the removal of the preposition doesn’t add anything to the sentiment. So why did it happen? It’s all very baffling.

And have you watched the word “fun” travel the rocky road from noun to adjective, as I have? When I was growing up, pleasurable activities were either a lot of fun or so much fun. Now they’re just “so fun.” The pairing doesn’t sound right to my ears, no matter how often I hear the younger generation (and increasingly, the older one) use it.

For some reason, the recently minted adjective “chill” doesn’t bother me as much, perhaps because I don’t think it owes its existence to grammatical sloppiness. Being chill is also a state I aspire to, though I’m more or less resigned to never achieving it in this lifetime, neurotic creature that I am.

My son tells me the word swag also wears many grammatical hats. You can have swag, be swag, walk swag(ly), or just swag (as in, “He swags along with his pants down to his ankles.”). And the adjective snake, he informs me, means swag with an edge – another state of being beyond my reach.

How about you, gentle reader? Any changes you’ve observed over the years that don’t go down too smoothly with your coffee or aperitif?

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17 Responses to Prepositions and propositions I can’t get used to

  1. Alexis Campbell says:

    A few years ago I was greatly put out when a client requested I use “impact” as a verb in a headline. Now, it doesn’t bother me at all. I’ve noticed English continually verbs nouns and vice versa, so I suppose I’ve gotten used to it.

    This years, mondegreens* are what get under my skin. Every time I read about the “tenants” of a religion or “for all intensive purposes,” I roll my eyes. We seem to have shifted from visual to aural word recognition.

    Or perhaps it’s just that I’m exposed to a greater variety of misspellings in the age of the Internet. Most of the mondegreens I read are in comment threads online.

    *http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mondegreen

  2. Funny you should mention the verb “impact.” I was thinking of making verb(iage) coining the subject of my next blog. Stay tuned…

    Gabrielle

  3. icelandpenny says:

    Hurray for you and this blog, Gabrielle! I could rant on happily about a number of changes I don’t much like, but here’s the one I find strangest of all, because the word has reversed meaning: “oversight.”
    It used to mean, something you should have done but forgot to do; now it means paying strict attention and doing that which should be done. I can see the false-logic path, from the established verb “oversee” to a new noun “oversight” — but still, how unnerving for those who are imprinted with the earlier meaning.

  4. V. says:

    More for Alexis:
    “all told” vs. “all tolled”
    “trolling” vs. “trawling” – I always picture hunters on the lookout for trolls!

    • Thanks for these great examples, Alexis. Peaked my interest, per say, the list goes on… I’ll definitely make this the topic of a future post.

      • Yes, please! These mondegreens are everywhere. Sometimes I even find myself typing “here” for “hear” (!).

      • Mondegreens — love it! Thanks for introducing me to a new word. And thanks so much for your witty and incisive comments. As a new blogger I’m very grateful for this kind of participation.

        Cheers, Gabrielle

      • Alexis Campbell says:

        I’m a complete sucker for grammar and language blogs, although I’m a word nerd rather than a grammar geek myself. 🙂 Don’t forget to check out the Word Nerd Defence League on Facebook, and email me if you have any trouble accessing the group. I invited you last week. (Yes, I know time is limited, so do it when you have time.) You may find that the WNDLers might want to subscribe to your blog!

  5. Myra says:

    When did the words “couple” and “of” break up? Much to my dismay, the “of” seems to have disappeared, even from the writing of a couple (of) writers I’ve always respected. How did this happen?

  6. I’m one of those misguided souls who sees “fun” first and foremost as an adjective. Done it all my life. It was only later on when I checked the dictionaries and started wondering, “What’s going on here? They barely grant an adjective definition for fun!” Don’t even THINK about “funner” and “funnest”!

    Call me predicate nominative-challenged (go ahead!), but, “It was fun!” still screams adjective at me. Just like, “It was frightening!” or “It was thrilling!”, or “It was beautiful!”

    Otherwise, where’s the indefinite article? Who would say, “It was fright!”, or “It was thrill!”, or “It was beaut!”?

    Thanks for inviting me to your blog, Gabrielle. I’ve never much minded embarrassing myself in front of the whole world. In fact, it was a fun!

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