Intensive Purposes: Prepositions (Part I)

writing editing essay

“You shouldn’t end a sentence with a preposition.”

How many times have you heard that before? Ok, now answer honestly, how many times have you scratched your head in response, thinking What in the world does that even mean?

It’s a commonly quoted rule in the English language that prepositions are taboo. But before you can understand what it means to not end a sentence with a preposition, you first have to understand what a preposition is.

preposition: a word governing, and usually preceding, a noun or pronoun and expressing a relation to another word or element in the clause (Google)

If you made it past that technical garble, you’re probably feeling even more frustrated. Let’s focus in, however, on the phrase “relation to”; a preposition is simply a word that describes a relation to another thing. I remember it by the following: when I was a kid I had a matching game that showed a little lamb flying an airplane in various ways. Really sophisticated, I know. He would fly his plane through the clouds, above the clouds, between the clouds, under the clouds, around the clouds, and so on and so forth. I’ve had students tell me in the past that they use a similar method to identify prepositions by thinking about all of the different ways you can traverse a mountain. Those relationship words? Those are prepositions.

Chocolate Frog
The chocolate frog is in the box. For now.
There are certainly more complicated prepositions, or ones that don’t fit the “mountain” rule (I’ve tried imagining ‘until’ a mountain, but with no luck), but it’s a good place to start if you find yourself having difficulty remembering all of the different prepositions. Wikipedia (gasp!) has a pretty solid list of prepositions as well. With time, you’ll start to recognize the most common prepositions, like ‘with’, ‘of’, and ‘by’ and maybe even start noticing when they creep up in your own writing!

Tune in next time to find out how to avoid ending sentences with prepositions, and whether or not it’s a rule worth following!

A play on the misquoted phrase “for all intents and purposes”, Intensive Purposes tackles one grammar rule or English language tip — from proper punctuation to misused phrases — in an easy-to-understand mini-lesson. 

Link Love

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Things Women in Literature Have Died From (snort.)
Which Ice Cream Brand Actually Has the Most Cookie Dough? The most important question ever answered.
♥ Did Shakespeare really write the plays he’s famous for? In the researched Shakespeare Algorithm, function words might hold the key
Stop Asking ‘Is this feminist?’
No You Can’t Get a F*cking Neck Tattoo, Jane Marie — a tremendous response by a tattoo artist and look at personal ethics in the tattoo community
♥ These two girls went on a quest to find locations in popular fandoms (and I’m kind of jealous of their trip.)
Neil Gaiman on how stories last
♥ Are you a writer looking for inspiration? Sonya Cheney has 4 tips for finding inspiration in everyday life to help you out of your funk
Politics and the Japanese tea ceremony
♥ Graphic t-shirts are not a fashion faux pas! Learn how to rock a graphic tee with style and class courtesy of Le Fancy Geek
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♥ Need a cure for stress at work? Books as Therapy has you covered!
7 of the Unluckiest Archetypes in Fiction
♥ Here’s how long it takes kids, based on the average child’s reading speed, to read classic children’s books

Elegy for a Dead World is a game about writing, and meant to help you improve your own writing skills. What are your thoughts on the concept?

What fun links have you found lately?

Smitten: Book Bingo

Smitten

book bingo

I wasn’t aware of just how much down time I’ve needed these past few weeks (hence the absence — sorry, Internet!) It’s a very real reality, as reality often is quite real, that a blog/life/work balance is easier said than done. As much as it pains me to say “blog break”, that’s exactly what I needed. My blog overhaul earlier this year was more aesthetic than anything and didn’t address the change in direction that I decided to take, for various reasons. I realize there’s never a 100% ideal time to do anything, which is why I’m just taking the plunge right now and making the internal changes I need to finally open my editing services to the public and get stuff done. Just bear with me a little while longer!

That being said, it’s nice to put down work every now and then and relax with a good book (that’s one thing that certainly hasn’t changed!) My summer reading list is only a fraction of what I actually read over the warmer months, and to add a bit of fun I decided to tackle my local stationery/book/odds-and-ends store’s, Kards Unlimited, Summer Reading Bingo.

The challenge itself is simple: read a book on the free, printable bingo card and cross it off your card with an Instagram snapshot. Cross off a square — or better yet, get a B-I-N-G-O — and get a coupon or grand prize entry! Instagram challenges are one thing, but this is like getting rewarded for doing what I do in the summer anyway! Plus it’s great for getting me to branch out of my typical genres and reads.

What’s the most fun reading challenge you’ve ever participated in?

Link Love

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Neil Gaiman & Kazuo Ishiguro have a conversation about genre, and fantasy’s place in today’s society
Don’t Be Commatose: A quick guide to using commas
♥ Ever wonder what the average reading level of popular songs are?
How has the world changed since you were born? — an awesome interactive and personalized history from the BBC
♥ A beautifully illustrated tree of Indo-European languages
♥ A few weeks ago, Marissa and I sat down to discuss work/life balance and our current projects on the latest installment of #WIWO
Italian women and 16th century social media

What fun links have you found lately?

Link Love

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Fangirl lovers, this is for you: Why is fan fiction so powerful?
♥ Some of the most beautiful places in Japan
♥ A few of the best literary fashion icons (even though I could never pull off a Claudia, you can’t deny she is high on the style savvy literary lady list.)
Game Design as Narrative Architecture
♥ Have an extra pocket of time you don’t know what to do with? Here are 24 books you can read in under an hour.
The 30-Day Learning Challenge

What fun links have you found this week?