Preposition Overload

There’s something I like to call “preposition overload“, and that’s when a writer or a speaker uses more prepositions than needed.

Take a look at this first example: “Where is Jim at?”

The next lesson: Choosing the Correct Adjective

The following transcript is provided for your convenience.

You notice right here that “at” is a preposition. However, this preposition actually is not needed. You don’t believe me? Here, look. We can draw a line through “at“, and try reading the sentence without the preposition.

Where is Jim?”

See, the sentence still makes perfect sense without the preposition.

Take a look at this next sentence:

Where did Jim go to?”

Again, draw a line through that preposition right there, “to“, and try reading the sentence without “to“.

Where did Jim go?”

So, a good way of determining whether a preposition in the sentence is needed or not is just by crossing out the preposition, or reading the sentence without the preposition, and seeing if the preposition still sounds grammatically correct.

Take a look at this last example, it’s not quite as obvious:

He lives outside of the city.”

That sentence may sound perfectly fine, but actually, try saying this sentence without the word “of“.

He lives outside the city.”

The sentence still makes sense without this preposition.

So, again, even though this isn’t very obvious, this is still a case of preposition overload. And, as a writer, you don’t want to use words that are not needed, because when you use more words than needed, it hinders the clarity of your writing.

The next lesson: Choosing the Correct Adjective

preposition-overload