Dirty, sexy, grammar – prepositions

by Julie Frayn on June 19, 2012 in  Dirty, Sexy, Grammar

A preposition creates a relationship. It is a grammatical proposition, bringing nouns or pronouns and other words together. These are usually couplings, but I’m sure the occasional threesome is okay.

When discussing prepositions, “of” or “to” or “with” often come to mind. Folks get all up in yo’ face when you end a sentence with one of these little babies. But guess what? Above is a preposition. So is below. And beneath and behind and opposite and minus and through and inside and aboard and across and against.

Maybe the old fashioned thinking was that the preposition needs to be in the middle of the related words. I’ve found it’s not a good idea to get in the middle of any relationship. If the words that relate are in the same sentence, the order of word/word/preposition, or word/preposition/word is not a big issue, as long as the resulting sentence makes sense.

Old fashioned correctness:

The size of his package was something of which he was proud. (Correct, but awkward)

Modern rebellious correctness:

The size of his package was something he was proud of. (Okay, still awkward, I mean come on, find something better to swell with pride over. But still correct!)

A few more examples of old fashioned correctness vs modern rebellious correctness.

Sharing my wine is something to which I cannot agree.

Sharing my wine is something I cannot agree to.

It’s fun to get down with your bad self.

Your bad self is fun to get down with. (That may be modern rebellious correctness, but it’s just plain wrong)

I cannot commit to one man.

There is not one man I can commit to.

So there you have it, a little sexy grammar rebellion without breaking any real rules.

Now have I got a preposition for you. Come up and see me sometime. I’ll show you my adverbs.


{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Sheila June 20, 2012 at 7:41 am

I love a good preposition :) Great post Julie!


Julie June 20, 2012 at 7:49 pm

I even love a few bad ones.

Jester Queen June 20, 2012 at 8:45 am

Of course, there’s always, “He was proud of his package’s size” and “I can’t agree to share my wine” solving all awkwardness problems except possibly for the image I now have of a woman guzzling wine to get rid of the image of a man’s awkward package display…


Julie June 20, 2012 at 7:51 pm

Or maybe:
“Why’s he so proud of the size of his package?”
“What package? I can’t see his package.”

joannesimson June 20, 2012 at 10:22 am

Prepositions are great linkers; they are very useage-dependent, and in some languages they are directly linked to the noun object, sometimes as a post-position. Pseudointellectuals can become very fastidious about prepositions in English, not understanding how flexible they are.
One time I wrote an office memo that said something like “…come to the planning meeting if you want to.” A junior colleague, who was trying to bully himself up the academic ladder, and who was eyeing my office space, made a snide remark about my ending a sentence with a preposition. I responded, “I don’t need to discuss grammar with someone who doesn’t know the difference between a preposition and the infinitive form of a verb.”
I believe it was Winston Churchill who responded to some criticism of a dangling preposition with: “This is the sort of errant pedantry up with which I will not put.”


Julie June 20, 2012 at 8:13 pm

Love that Winston… The original Yoda? I try not to be a grammar bitch (you know, in the bad sense of that word), but can’t stop myself from being a spelling bitch!

tricia June 20, 2012 at 8:29 pm

i love this!!!! totally sharing!


Julie June 22, 2012 at 7:04 am

Thanks Trish! I love it when people share. Except my wine…

mj monaghan June 21, 2012 at 3:14 pm

Awesome as usual, Julie.

I remember the Spanish Preposition. It seemed pretty inquisitive, though.


Julie June 22, 2012 at 7:05 am

Hah! Hahaha! That caught me off guard. Priceless. 😀

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