March 06, 2007

How to speak English in America - Part VIII

This week's edition contains my personal favorite of
the moment. I 'totally' despised it when I first heard
it, but am now apt to use it myself. No thanks to its
grammatical correctness, however, but just because
when you hear a mistake often enough you sometimes get
fond of it and learn to love it. Besides, if you don't
make the mistake along with everyone else, you're
likely to be misunderstood. (I speak from experience,

So, here it is, when you need to know WHERE someone is
in time, space or even on an emotional level, it is
not enough to simply say: "Where are you?" That lacks
a certain charm and, more importantly, according to
Californians (I can't speak for other States - not my
area of expertise) it also lacks a preposition: at.
Forget everything you ever learned about never ending
a sentence with a preposition -"where are you AT?" is
so much more satisfying! Another benefit is that it
covers all your bases because it refers to your moral
and mental state as well as your physical whereabouts.

On the topic of speech peppered with extra
prepositions, here's another one. Unfortunately, this
one has not grown on me at all. It's awful. "Off of".
What? "Off OF" as in "get off OF my car", "take Exit 5
off OF the freeway" and you get what I mean. Oddly,
when it comes to spelling, American English is quick
to retrench and retire letters. 'Spelling - lite',
where night = nite, colour = color, travelled =
traveled, but when it comes to prepositions they keep
adding more for free! I'm going off of my head with


montchan said...

how sweet! You sound exactly like me when I first arrived in the US, except I was an agent in NYC.

oh good times!!!

Addicted to your Blog said...

The Z's are the most Buzzing word. Roll the 'R' is another.