Monday, March 3, 2014

The Preposition

This past weekend I attended Winter Camp with  a group of women I became friends with last Fall while we paddled  the shores of Lake Coeur d Alene in classic war canoes - the 104 mile adventure was a fund raiser for Camp Sweyolakan on Mica Bay. It's an achievement we're all proud of.

Winter Camp was somewhat of a reunion , not only to reminisce about our paddling adventure , but make new memories, too. We played  marathon games of Progressive Rummy and  Mexican Train ( a Domino game) , cooked and shared meals together, and laughed a lot.  The conversation was never dull,  we covered many topics , including the proper use of prepositions when writing a sentence.

Prior to their retirement, some of the women had been educators. I listened with interest as they lamented the fact so many young people  today don't know how to construct a sentence. I thought how  easy for any of us today to  fall into lazy habits, especially when using email and text, so  I decided to review what a preposition is, and how  and when it  should be used.

Referencing one of my old textbooks, Voyages in English from grade school ,  a preposition is a word or group of words that shows the relationship between a substantive and some other word in the sentence.

    The paddlers  relish song at camp.

The most commonly used prepositions are : about, above, across , after, against , amount, around, at, before, behind, beside, between, beyond, by, down, during except, for, from ,in, into, near, of , off, on, over, past, through, throughout, to toward, under, until, up, with.

The preposition may be a single word or a group of words used as one preposition

     Laughter came from the houseboat.
     The canoe stayed in spite of the schedule.

Groups of words that are considered one preposition when used with a substantive include the following: on account of, instead of, in addition to, in regard to, in spite of, in front of, because of, by means of , for the sake of.

The object of a preposition is a noun, a pronoun, or a group of words used as a noun. A noun or any word that takes place of a noun is called a substantive.

      We cannot paddle without Huck's help . (Noun)
       Scottie gave the recipe to her. (Pronoun)
       From across the lake came the paddlers. (Prepositional phrase)

Sometimes there can be confusion as to the correct use of a preposition. For example, 'different from'  and 'different with'. Differ with denotes disagreement of opinion. Differ from denotes differences between persons or things.

        I differ with you about the scoring of the game.
        The banners differ from each other in width.

After the adjective different use from, not than.

         The writing is different from hers.

Or 'angry with and 'angry at'. Use angry with a person; angry at a thing.

          She is angry with Barbara.
          We were angry at the result

 I'm grateful for my weekend at Winter Camp and  camaraderie of  these women who taught me  how to paddle, play Progressive Rummy, and make the best ever blueberry waffles,  and yesterday  reminded me  of the importance of a preposition.


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