Grammatical Over-Correction #1

 Today I am annoyed by grammatical over-corrections. Particularly by people who, in an effort to avoid ending a sentence with a preposition, completely eliminate the preposition. Here’s the latest example but there are far more egregious ones.

He has to choose the path he wants to go.

You don’t GO a path. You go DOWN a path. You go NEAR a path. You can even go AROUND a path or TO a path. But you don’t GO a path.

The issue isn’t whether or not the preposition is required, the issue is placement. I understand not wanting to place it at the end because the grammar god told us we can’t, but FIND a place for the preposition. It belongs in the sentence. Put it there. Sometimes I end sentences with a preposition because I think omitting it sounds silly and placing somewhere else and adding ‘which’ or ‘whom’ sounds pretentious. For me, that’s just not the option to go with. 🙂

For me, that’s just not the option with which to go?
For me, that’s just not the option to go?
How about —I’m just not doing that!!–?
That’s better.

OK, I just heard a woman on Project Runway say, “I didn’t know where to start from.”  Now, that’s an error.  The thought was complete at “start”.

Do you see the difference?

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7 thoughts on “Grammatical Over-Correction #1

  1. Akin to your last example is “Where you at?”, which gives me the heebie jeebies and reinforces my belief that people don’t think about words/meanings. They merely fill in the blanks of ideas with phrases they’ve heard in that context. How fitting, then, that “Where you at?” became a slogan. If it’s stupid, we must get people to say it a real whole lot!

    Sometimes you have to end in a preposition because doing otherwise changes the meaning. “Who let the reins out?” vs. “Who let out the reins?” (Not that you can do the latter, unless you’re Britishly using “let” to mean “rent.”)

    Sadly, people could spare you if they’d just say “He needs to choose the path he wants to take.” I think, however, that changes the meaning; “take” is decisive and proactive, whereas “go” is passive. The use of “go” seems important, I’m just not sufficiently churchminded to know why.

  2. Now I want to write sentences with prepositions hanging out all over the place but I don’t know where to start from. (maniacal laughter).

  3. My husband and I have a running joke about the whole
    ‘where you at?’ question. He used to say it and it really got under my skin. Now, every week as he’s driving back to Maryland – I call him with that very same question. He always replies ‘behind that preposition’, and we just crack up. It’s the little things…

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