GRAMMAR GEEK GUIDE: Proper ‘Sitions
Welcome to Grammar Geek Guide, where I’ll be writing about common grammatical mistakes and Filipinisms (English phrases commonly attributed to Filipinos that may be considered incorrect, poorly constructed, or inappropriate, often as a result of mistranslation).
Before anything else, I’d like to stress that I am neither a grammar teacher nor an English degree holder. In fact, a lot of the grammar and spelling stuff I’ll be talking about in these posts are most likely going to be things I’ll be learning for the first time. Here’s hoping that the lessons in these blog posts would prove to be just as helpful to you as they are (or will be) to me.
Prepositions can be quite tricky to master. Aside from your ins and ons and ats, there are a slew of other words that you have to include in your sentences for them to make sense.
According to this handy page, the most commonly used prepositions are:
|against||beyond||in front of||outside||up|
|among||by||in spite of||past||up to|
|before||during||near||throughout||with regard to|
|behind||except||of||to||with respect to|
Of course, memorizing these won’t do you a lick of good unless you know how to use them properly. Here, then, is a list of the most common ways we misuse, abuse, or unintentionally slaughter these poor prepositions.
Wrong: Can this mouse connect with my laptop?
Right: Can this mouse connect to my laptop?
Unless you want your mouse to have a deep, meaningful relationship with your laptop, what you really mean to say is connect to.
We generally use connect to when referring to a physical connection between two things, e.g. hardware, wires, etc.
We generally use connect with when associating one thing with another or establishing an emotional connection, e.g. relationships between people.
Take note, however, that to and with can sometimes be used interchangeably. The best way to make sure is to (1) mind the context and (2) check Google to see how many people use to vs how many use with.
Don’t you just love the English language?
Wrong: Despite of the fact that…
Right: Despite the fact that…
Despite means in spite of, which means when you say “despite of,” what you’re actually saying is “in spite of of.” Which, well, sounds off. Get rid of the unnecessary of and you’ll be fine.
Wrong: Dispose the trash.
Right: Dispose of the trash.
Remember that of you took away from the previous example? Add that here. See what I did there? I just helped you learn English AND Math. I’m so awesome. (I think.)
Dispose of is an example of a phrasal verb, which means that to get the full (read: intended) meaning of the word, it NEEDS to come with its partner. In this case, dispose needs of to mean “get rid of.”
Wrong: Fill up this form.
Right: Fill out this form.
Fill up means pouring something into another thing until it’s completely filled (for example, pouring water into a glass). Fill out means supplying requested information, which is what you do when you write answers on a form full of blanks.
Wrong: I think I’m going to fail in Geometry.
Right: I think I’m going to fail Geometry.
Here, you don’t need the in, so just drop it. (In this case, I’d advise you to drop Geometry, too.)
Wrong: I live at Sampaloc, Manila.
Still wrong: I live on Sampaloc, Manila.
Mega-kaduper wrong: I live Sampaloc, Manila.
Right: I live in Sampaloc, Manila.
In is used to indicate that something is placed inside another thing, or to refer to non-specific places or dates (months, years, or month-and-year combinations).
At is used to indicate specific places, dates (month, day, AND year), or directions.
On is used when talking about something placed directly above another thing.
Before we end this, a few quick ones:
Wrong: I prefer books rather than movies.
Right: I prefer books over movies.
Also right: I prefer books to movies.
Wrong: Inspite of the fact that…
Right: In spite of the fact that…
Wrong: This will result to the establishment of…
Right: This will result in the establishment of…
Wrong: With regards to your complaint…
Right: With regard to your complaint…
Please feel free to share your grammar-related thoughts and comments below, or send me your burning, itching grammar and spelling questions on Facebook.