Language Log is celebrating National Preposition Day, which they just made up (four separate links there, by the way).

To honor the day…..

MS Word’s grammar checker normally just annoys me. However, I did learn something from it once. The checker tends to throw up a warning when you have too many prepositional phrases in a sentence. And you know what? it’s actually right. Too many prepositional phrases do get confusing and create a funky rhythm. I’ve actually started giving that same comment to my students.

In other prepositional news, it’s strange to me how many of my students—American-born and raised, middle-class, decent schooling—get their prepositions wrong. As Language Log makes clear, prepositions are largely a matter of intuition rather than conscious rules. But a whole lot of my students just don’t have that feel for them.