Incorrect use (or abuse) of the preposition "to"
We are all aware of the "different from/to/than" debate, and I have no wish to resurrect that discussion. However, I have lately noticed that there are a few other instances of what might be termed “erroneous use of prepositions.” It almost seems that there is a drive to make “to” the de facto default preposition. Consider the following:
- “separate to” vs “separate from”
- “deal to” vs “deal with”
- “think to” vs “think of”
I have also heard “bored of” rather than “bored with.” There are probably many more examples. One has to wonder what has happened to the teaching of English Grammar in the modern era.
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I am unaware of the "different from/to/than" debate.
In your three examples, the second is by far the one I've most commonly heard.
"Separate to" I can see, but "deal to"?
And I can see "think to" followed by a verb, whereas "think of" is often followed by a noun. Still, I more commonly use "think of".
What about regional differences - "quarter of" vs. "quarter to" (15 minutes before the hour)? I'm used to using "to" in this instance.
Bas Aarts, in his "Oxford Modern English Grammar" advocates an approach that is adaptive and that evolves, rather than a stricter or prescriptive approach. I suppose the key is to understand and to be understood.
I remember being taught some grammar by the nuns in Catholic school, but the bulk of my grammar knowledge came from my father, not from school. And the kids in my class(es) were never any good in grammar anyway, so that's a sad way to say that we didn't have far down to fall.
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