Mar 19, 2009

Red Wine is like a Prepositional Phrase....


"How?" you ask....well let me explain....

1. Sometimes it sounds good, at others it doesn't. Unless you are a member of my family, then most always it sounds wonderful! (The Red Wine, not the Proposition) But if you are not a member of the fabulous wine drinking family, the question lingers. Same goes for Prepositional Phrases. Sometimes the word THAT just sounds so damn good! What if I want to use it???

2. They are both my enemies! They creep up on me when I'm not expecting...throwing everything off. Especially balance. Confused? Prepositions have the tendency to throw off the balance of a wonderfully written sentence. Too many that's and had's and if's and of's! It's crazy THAT I think THAT after I just HAD a glass of wine THAT I just drank. Now tell me there is balance in the previous sentence! Red Wine...well let's not talk about how horrible my balances becomes after a few glasses.

3. There are times when I am not sure when to use either. It's 4:30 on a Thursday afternoon and the week has been long. Each day has been marked by either a sick child or a naughty son who has been sent home from school. The question is, do I wait until the clock strikes five? Or do I just uncork that seductive bottle of Shiraz and sip it down as though it were water and I had been stuck in the swealtering heat for days without even a drop of sweat to quench my thirst? It's a tough decision. Same goes for those tricky little propositions.

Example....

What did you step on? You can't say, "What did you step?" You need to say, "What did you step on?" to make a grammatical sentence.
Although to be true to gramatical form, should you really be saying, "On what did you step?'"

Seriously! This is going to take years to figure out! (The Prepositions, not the Red Wine...)

Do you have any advice? Any tips?

3 comments:

T. Anne said...

LOL, no tips. Enjoy the wine.

Jenny Penny said...

Oh, blah. I just wrote a comment, hit send, and watched it go into the abyss. I'll try again...

1) I advise more wine.

2) The word "that" is driving you crazy, because it drives everyone crazy. It's a hard one. It might help you to know it's not a preposition, and the forms causing you headaches are the relative pronoun form and the complementizer form (or conjunction form). My rule of thumb: If you can omit the word "that" without changing the clarity or meaning of a sentence, do.

3) You can end a sentence with a preposition. That "rule" is breakable, and you should definitely favor natural language when writing. So, you're right about not worrying about it in most places. Do you usually hear people say, "I screwed up" or "Up I screwed," right? ;)

4) Do you have a style manual (e.g., the Chicago Manual)? Some things that drive writers batty when rewriting/editing are actually matters of style, not grammar (e.g., forming possessives for names that end in the letter s).

Tobby Smith said...

I must admit, "Up I screwed" does sound entertaining :)

I will look into the Chicago Manual.

Thanks!