1. Education

It's the silly season. Killer hamsters, alien abductions, big dumb movies at the cineplex. That time of year when newsmakers and troublemakers take their vacations, forcing journalists to fill the spaces between the ads with matters of profound inconsequence.

At least that's my excuse for reprinting Morris Bishop's poem "The Naughty Preposition":

I lately lost a preposition:
It hid, I thought, beneath my chair.
And angrily I cried: "Perdition!
Up from out of in under there!"

Correctness is my vade mecum,
And straggling phrases I abhor;
And yet I wondered: "What should he come
Up from out of in under for?"

And Bishop's delightful train of terminal prepositions takes us directly to some phony rules of writing--including that old bugaboo about never ending a sentence with a preposition. Enjoy your summer holidays!

More Language Myths:


August 23, 2009 at 6:05 pm
(1) laura says:

Ah yes, those wonderful prepositions that used to drive me crazy when I was a child. My English teacher’s favorite example of a classic sentence which avoided the disturbing dilemma of having to end a sentence with a preposition was “That is something up with which I will not put.”
Interestingly, there is a program popular with homeschooling parents called “Easy Grammar” which begins teaching the parts of speech not with the usual nouns and verbs but with prepositions and prepositional phrases. They get that out of the way, learning a few basic prepositions and adding them as they go along picking up nouns, verbs etc. That way they don’t dread those pesky prepositions.

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