Proofreading Service - Pain in the English
Proofreading Service - Pain in the EnglishProofreading Service - Pain in the English
 

Your Pain Is Our Pleasure

24-Hour Proofreading Service—We proofread your Google Docs or Microsoft Word files. We hate grammatical errors with passion. Learn More

 

In or At and the nature of relativism

On my way to work every morning I happen to pass a particular billboard expounding the services of a mortgage maid (or whatever the technical term happens to be... loan officer possibly?) On this billboard is a sad attempt at wit wherein the LO has her son standing next to her profile wearing what is presumably his Karate uniform.

Above them both, a caption reads “‘My mom is a black belt at mortgage!’”

My contention, beyond the obvious missing s from mortgage, is that “in” should replace “at”, so that it instead reads, “My mom is a black belt in mortgages!”

I realize if we somehow verbed the word mortgage (and yes, I realize verb itself isn’t a verb), we could use at in a classically technical sense. Consider “I am proficient at mortgaging” as an example. However, the idea of the classification “black belt” makes this null and void as far as I see it. Since we’re speaking of a particular class within an imagined range of expertise at a subject, then “in” becomes the default modifier regardless of a verb or noun ending.

To put it more concisely, since “black belt” is a particular class of status to the relative noun, then there is really no way to use “at” as the correct preposition.

Do I get the black belt IN grammar or am I clearly far too obsessed with this particular imagined injustice to be a well-developed individual.

Thank you in advance,

-Q

Submit Your Comment

or fill in the name and email fields below:

Comments

Sort by  OldestLatestRating

I think most English-speakers would hardly recognize a distinction between AT and IN in this context, verb or no.

davidlrattigan October 30, 2004 @ 3:47AM

0 vote    Permalink    Report Abuse