Feb. 04 2015 — 8:54 pm | 2436 views
I’m here today to tell you recalcitrant dimwits that if you keep inserting the word “of” where it isn’t needed, you will all die.
Okay, maybe that’s a little harsh. Maybe I’ll just kill a few of you as an example to the rest.
I don’t understand why this evil is happening now (in truth, I don’t understand why anything that’s happening now is happening, but let that go), but the sticking of “of” into sentences where no “of” is necessary is getting out of control.
Just the other day, Laura Ingraham said, “I just don’t think measles is that big of a deal.”
I know, you’re thinking, hey, it’s Laura Ingraham, she’s an idiot Republican, they’re wrong about everything, so of course she wouldn’t be content just to be wrong about fucking measles, she’d have to do something else wrong in the sentence to flaunt her heroic, epic wrongness.
Yet I’m seeing extraneous, superfluous, gratuitous and totally useless ofs promiscuously inserted everywhere by all kinds of people.
In particular, “inside” and “outside” are words that seem like irresistible provocations to the ofmongers.
Theatlantic.com, which is not exactly the language-challenged Buzzfeed, ran a subhead on an article about poverty in the suburbs that began, “More people with low incomes now live outside of cities…”
A few days later, in an article about God knows what, it recounted the saga of a nineteenth-century chess robot that checkmated all comers “because there was a chess master hiding inside of it.”
I suppose the writer would argue that if the chess master had merely been hiding inside it instead of of it, the sentence would never have fully conveyed the stunning drama of the occasion.
And in the Washington Post about five minutes ago, I spotted this atrocity about some Congressman’s baroque office decor: “‘It’s actually based off of the red room in Downton Abbey,’ said the woman behind the front desk, comparing it to the luxurious set piece at the heart of the British period drama.”
Shouldn’t that be “based on of the red room?”
I could give you a few thousand more examples of this loathsomeness, but they’d soon become depressingly tiresome. Just take my word of it.
Look, I have nothing against the word itself. Of is a modest little preposition with few pretensions, aside from the fact that it’s pronounced as if spelled uv, but English is full of such nonsense, so I forgive of.
What I can’t forgive, however, is the growing proliferation of ofs where no of should tread, especially in the news business. News people are trained to eschew excess and slash surfeits.
At least they used to be.
Maybe the new media find copy editors, with their dedication to crisp economy and their outrageous demand to be paid, an unnecessary luxury today.
Or maybe, just maybe, the invasion of ofs is a conspiracy by the nation’s hicks. Isn’t the yokel population always trying to slip its tater tots into the national word casserole? These are the subliterates who won’t be happy until we’re all saying, “Where’s he at?”
I don’t know it’s them for sure but I have my suspicions.
Whatever the reason, the excess ofing must cease. So be wary, be vigilant, keep it pure and don’t make me mad of you.