Prepositions in Post Postmodernism

post postmodernismTo excuse my laziness, I’ll offer a simile. I feel like the owner of a small animal who’s left it alone for too long, and returning home, finds it all too happy to see him, which only increases his guilt…

Let’s talk about prepositions in post postmodernism. You can end sentences with prepositions these days and you can tell a lot about a person by the prepositions they use. “Where’s it at?” is common phrasing in rural areas of the country. The frequency of like is on the rise today, according to Google’s Ngram Viewer. But I mean even more subtly, prepositions and articles — the very thread that binds our language — tell a lot about a speaker, and a writer.

I’m trying to rid them in my writing whenever possible; they take space and are often superfluous. For example, I could easily have written they take up space, and in fact, did, but deleted it to make my point. I don’t want to get carried away; there’s a thin line here. Many of you may object — yeah, you should have kept the up, it sounds more natural, makes more sense. Maybe.

I’ve written about articles, and how they are on the way out. But prepositions aren’t so much on their way out as they are distinguishing factors in the eloquence of a work. Choosing the word by instead of the word near, for example, offers a different stylistic brushstroke. I won’t say which prepositions are more eloquent; I’ll leave you to figure that one out.

By Daniel Ryan Adler

Daniel Adler writes fiction and nonfiction and is finishing his MFA at University of South Carolina.

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