“Adventures pounce upon the unsuspecting.”
One minute I’m minding my own business quietly reading a book when my brain does the “one thing leads to another stream of consciousness” shuffle. The next minute I find myself amid the preposition population knee deep in “between”, “atween”, and “betwixt” wondering why “between” made the cut where as “betwixt” was deemed “archaic”.
The adventure began upon overthinking a clever phrase rather than hurrying the protagonist through her story. I picked the phrase apart word by word. I questioned whether or not the phrase would be as striking had the noun’s synonym been employed to communicate the thought. That led to analyzing the verb. Eventually I was left with the preposition.
(My attention to detail obscured my big picture view.)
I wandered on the Preposition Planet and couldn’t leave until my satisfied curiosity guided me home. Here’s what I learned. (If you ever find yourself in a similar situation after pondering a cleverly turned phrase read on. It’s a short cut back to your book.)
Preposition Club Membership
There aren’t all that many prepositions compared to the other parts of speech. A Google search revealed that there are “more than 100” or “about 150” depending upon which of the 20,000,000 consulted. (Wouldn’t you think that there would be an official certified count? Apparently preposition membership is loosey goosey.) Of those “of”, “to”, and “in” are listed among the ten most used words. (So this is how nerdy I am. I tallied my use of these three prepositions prior to the parenthesis and “to” won.)
Lawyers and Poets
Lawyers use the prepositions “dehors” and “absent” which mean “outside” and “without” respectively. However I don’t think take the dog dehors is correct even if Clarence Darrow would have uttered it about his pooch.
“Admist” and “amongst” are considered poetic. So add an “st” to ordinary prepositions and sound like Elizabeth Barrett Browning. (Throw in “o’er” while you’re at it.)
I had no idea this category existed. “Ago”, “apart”, “aside” belong to this group. A postposition is a word that comes after the word that it complements and usually indicates time or space. An example is
I should have ended this post two paragraphs ago and returned to reading my book.
And now I will just that!