English: Case Of The Abandoned Preposition

Posted on February 4, 2013. Filed under: grammar, Journalism, language | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Your words for the day:

  • to = a preposition that sends the action of a verb to an object
  • preposition = a word that is used before a noun (as in pre position)
  • orphaned = bereft of purpose or guidance (crossword creators can make ’em up; so can I)

My C.I. (Clueless Informant):  that same Parade Magazine (Sunday, December 30, 2012) providing grist for my previous post.

Scene of the Crime:  A product advertisement touting…   well…   so far as I could tell, it was touting touts about a book on nutrition  that it was…   well…   touting.  I mean, it was a list of 37 touts about stuff like stopping the aging process, making arteries “smooth and bendy,” and “a stick of gum can save the cost of a day in the hospital.”  No real information.  Just teasers enticing you to get your snake oil…   er…   valuable reference book.  As I perused this recipe for immortality, the poor orphaned “to,” all alone in the midst of many, gained my pity.

  • The sentence of abandonment:  “Breakthrough research reveals you can slow — even reverse — the aging process with certain foods and activities that our bodies respond to with vibrant good health!”

Right off, I will agree that this construction sounds pleasing to the ear and does not seem to possess incongruity.  It is a grammatical format that all of us utilize without hesitation.  BUT…

That poor little “to” wants mightily to point to something.  That is why it exists.  It would point to “foods and activities,” but that other preposition, with, is hogging all of their attention, and, tauntingly, has even corralled “vibrant good health” right under “to’s” nose.  Oh, the pain to must feel.

Fortunately, “to’s” plight can be corrected.  A simple cosmetic procedure on that sentence will salvage little “to” and return it to a full and useful life of pointing.  Voila:

  • “Breakthrough research reveals you can slow — even reverse — the aging process with certain foods and activities to which our bodies respond with vibrant good health!”  (“Which” is a stunt double for foods and activities.)

We speak in the vernacular without giving a lot of thought to grammatical constructions.  Professional wordsmiths, on the other hand, supposedly give every word and gist careful thought.  Experts, at least those well aware of their expert status, irritate me with their better-than-everybody-else airs.  To impress me, PROFESSIONAL WORDSMITHS gotta do better than this.  Hey, you guys might take a peak at Nezza’s work at Hella@Sydney.  Talk about “smooth and bendy.”  Ouch!

Okay!  This is a short posting.  I promised more than I could deliver today.

Next up:  More grammatical finger-pointing.

 

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