The Widdershins

The Importance of Prepositions

Posted on: August 3, 2016


Settle down, class. Let’s talk  grammar. Don’t worry. I won’t be asking you to diagram sentences.There will be no test. This is more about prepositions and conjunctions. Prepositions are words that create a relationship between other words in a sentence by linking phrases to the rest of the sentence. Conjunctions connect words, sentences, phrases and clauses.

My links and quotes here are from articles that are not that recent, but are good examples0988a70e95330193a35d34259adbc2de of the importance of such words.

Let’s start with “if”. Last year at a forum, Hillary was asked about Social Security. She gave her normal, detailed ideas that any lefty should love. When she came to the part about raising the retirement age, which she opposes, this is what they fixated on. [bold is mine throughout the post]

If there were a way to do it that would not penalize or punish laborers and factory workers and long-distance truck drivers and people who really are ready for retirement at a much earlier age, I would consider it. But I have yet to find any recommendation that I would think would be suitable.

Oh my. Hillary The Granny and Grampy Starver. There’s even a “but” in there, too. Her critics completely ignored everything else she said and spread those two sentences across the web. Does any one believe there will ever be a recommendation to divide Social Security recipients based on the type of job they held? As if.

Let’s move to “and”. I am, in no way, criticizing this brave mother from Flint, MI. She is considered a whistle blowing hero for the attention she brought to the lead crisis. This is more about the responses I heard and read after this exchange. LeeAnn Walters asked Hillary and Bernie if they would promise to require water systems in the US to remove lead pipes. Hillary’s response:

“We will commit to a priority to change the water systems and  we will commit within five years to remove lead from everywhere.”

While Ms. Walters didn’t like either answer (she has her reasons), she hated Hillary’s more saying: “To tell a Flint resident that we’ll handle this in five years is no different than what the city was telling us and what the state was telling us”. I scanned the comments to see if anyone else noticed the “and” in Hillary’s quote. Apparently not. Even those who were supportive of Hillary missed it. So, Hillary became the Jim Jones of Toddlers.

nclb-test-cartoonNow for the “but”. Hillary was asked about the death penalty by a man who was released from Death Row after serving 39 years for a crime he didn’t commit. Hillary had a long, nuanced and admittedly, run-on answer. I’ll break it down. She said she was very uncomfortable with the death penalty and would breathe a sigh of relief if the Supreme Court eliminated it tomorrow. Then she spoke about Timothy McVeigh, 9/11,  etc. and said it should be held in reserve for certain types of federal crimes, but only on a limited basis. She caught blowback from both the right and the left on this, who were ignoring the elephant in the room. That is, does anyone think this country will elect a Commander In Chief who takes the death penalty off the table for terrorists and mass murderers? Not gonna happen. But, no matter. The right said she’s soft on crime and the left thinks she’s Hillary The Executioner.

By another definition, prepositions are abstract words that have no concrete meaning. In and of themselves, yes. But, when they are overlooked and/or used to twist the entire narrative of a message, they are powerful. Maybe if we revived the skill of how to diagram a sentence, these teeny, tiny words would be more notable. Is it any wonder our future Madam President feels the need to “guard” her words?


Class dismissed and Open Thread.





60 Responses to "The Importance of Prepositions"

@1 From the link: Several months ago, a foreign policy expert on the international level went to advise Donald Trump

I wonder if that was Meeka’s daddy?

I guess it was earlier in that segment with Hayden that schmoe asked Hayden something along the lines of “How long does it take to launch a nuke? Is this a fast or slow process? Hayden replied that it was something designed to be done quickly.

Congrats GAgal on your first post!!

Isn’t it amazing how the press and tawking heads can zero in on what they want and ignore the rest? Ah, but that’s what makes headlines for them. Grrrrr!!

Thanks Fredster. I think it’s going to be fun when I get the hang of it.

The headlines are crazy today. The GOP bigwigs want to stage an intervention for Trump. Others are already planning ahead for what to do if he drops out (I don’t think he will because of his ego)

Then it would be up to the 168 members of the Republican National Committee to choose a successor, though the process is complicated.

One Republican legal expert has advised party officials that, for practical reasons, Trump would have to drop out by early September to give the party enough time to choose his replacement and get the next nominee’s name on the ballot in enough states to win.

A Trump spokesperson says “nah, he never asked about any stinkin’ nukes!”. Of course I have to wonder also who the hell in politics (other than maybe Reagan?) would release information through The Hollywood Reporter ? Weird, to say the least.

I think it’s going to be fun when I get the hang of it.

Practice makes perfect! 😉

me@5: And of course the scary thing here is “who you gonna believe – Trump or schmoe?” That’s a frightening choice. o_O

@7 True but I really can imagine Trump asking that. I never really thought he was dumb, just ignorant of things outside his insulated world. But now, I think he’s actually pretty stupid.

Trump’s dilemma with buttons.

I read this article a few hours ago before the update. Now I see he’s already been pushed out thanks to the head of the Tea Party here in GA. GOP who is a naturalized citizen from Saigon, says he may withhold his electoral vote from Trump. Within a few hours, he’s gone. No morals allowed.

Because this is happening to the granny-starver I just can’t help but kick up my heels a little bit.

I’m seriously considering adding a section over on the right where we can just catalog all of the outrages of Trumpymandias. 😝 The latest is here.

After all the outrageous things Trump has said and done, what put the party leaders over the edge – he wouldn’t endorse Paul Ryan. That is pathetic.

I’m checking in on FOX. (wish I’d thought about it earlier) Right now, it’s all about the $400 million payment to Iran.

Congratulations GAgal! Very good post!

@9, LOL! The comics must be loving having trump run, they have non-stop comedy material.

@11, WOW! That is really bad for them! But funny for us! 🙂

Brett Baier on Fox. Brian Fallon on. First question was a run-on about Clinton Foundation… quid pro quo, Bill’s speeches, under investigation by IRS. Fallon went right down the line, one by one. Brett tried to cut him off before he got to the IRS part. Fallon kept going. Then he moved onto the$400 million. Fallon killed it. Brett got a little testy ’cause he didn’t like the answers. Fallon just kept smiling that big ‘ole smile he has and ran all over him. 😀

@13: Well it was also the trashing of McCain and Kelly Ayotte, with those two being in tight races. So sad.

@10, what a shame he resigned.

@15 Thanks Annie. It drives me crazy when the whole debate is changed because people lack listening and reading comprehension skills.

Fallon killed it. Brett got a little testy ’cause he didn’t like the answers. Fallon just kept smiling that big ‘ole smile he has and ran all over him

Good! Don’t even give ’em a chance to cut you off.

HAHA! FOX poll has Hillary beating Trump by 10! Now they’re telling me how much she’s hated…

Great post GAgirl! It made me also think about how the media and the Repugs jumped on Hillary when she said “we’re going to put a lot of coal miners out of jobs BUT…”

Trump as 12.9% of Hispanic vote in FL.

Analysts say Trump appears to be counting on overwhelming support from white males to compensate for a poor showing in key demographics such as women, African Americans and Hispanics. It remains unclear if that strategy will work for Trump in Florida.

Hooray for GAGal! Great first post. We look forward to many more! {waves hello to contrask)

I am also a fan of grammar nerdiness, like sentence diagrams and chicken feet (the method I learned for writing essays). I feel that these early anchors have given me the capability to write with a strong, tight structure…which is somewhat spoiled by my tendency to invent words whenever I feel like it. (Example: Clusterf*ckiness) 😀

@24 – “Unclear”? I think not. Romney tried to win with the typical Republican coalition of white men and women. He won in those demographics, but there weren’t enough of them, even in 2012. There are even fewer now, AND Trump doesn’t have white women.

Payback is a b*tch, Trumpymandias and the Southern Strategy that birthed him,

The latest Trump meltdown news: Mike Pence has endorsed Paul Ryan. I’m guessing the GOP is looking to him as an alternate nominee. Hillary will crush him, of course, but at least he will toe the Party line, and won’t be drunk-tweeting about his faux sacrifice and victimhood 24-7.

P.S. Drumpf is dumpf as a stumpf.

@23 Thanks contrask. That’s exactly what I mean. Then I watch it spin off into neverland and it never comes back to what was really said and meant.

@25 madamab, I’m not the best at punctuation, grammar or sentence construction (fortunately I seldom have to be), but I can actually see the words if, and or but. It seems like a lot of people have a problem there.

MB@25 said: I am also a fan of grammar nerdiness, like sentence diagrams

So many times spent at the blackboard in the classroom being called on to do that. Of course now I would be totally lost. o_O

I had meant to award this to GAgal earlier, but lots of things today just eating up so much time. Anyway, here ya go GAgal!

Thanks Fredster! I haven’t gotten one of those in fifty…. nevermind.

Yes, this is 4 1/2 minutes of Megyn Kelley with some Trump thrown in, but it’s worth it. There will be no reining in of Trump. Let’s just sit back and watch the show!

@31: Oh we can all still use a gold star now and then. 🙂

@32: Oh dear gawd! “Millions and millions on disabled people in my bldgs.”

@34 Elizabeth Warren on the Supreme Court…. no hope for reality there. I’ve heard that for months.

GAgal – I’ve enjoyed and learned from your comments for while. So nice to read you on the front page. You make a very good point about how the media and Hillary’s detractors focus selectively on phrases, rather than the totality of her statements. Part of the problem may be that she actually speaks in complete sentences and coherent paragraphs, unlike that blathering fool on the other side. Imagine trying to diagram one of his garbled utterances.

GAgal, I wholeheartedly agree with you! Those ifs, ands, and buts are important words. I see them ignored more frequently when the press report something negative about Hillary. “If she deleted emails…..and they had classified info” or “….but they were re-classified later” etc., and suddenly people interpret the sentence as if there was no “if” to it! Maddening. There’s layer on layer of supposition there. Grrr.

I like how Hillary, who can speak in complete sentences, will take an opponent’s phrase and then add qualifiers to it using “but,” or “and” or “if” to show how she is listening to to that opponent but then adds her own wisdom to turn the action into something of benefit to the public. In diplomatic terms, it’s a way of appearing to offer compromise while holding firm to certain minimum standards. But it escapes the comprehension of those who are only tweet-capable.

@36, Jules said So nice to read you on the front page.

GAgal is going to be a great addition as a front-pager. We were overjoyed when she agreed to become a member of our little group. 🙂

Just as a heads up, I will probably be in and out for today and maybe tomorrow, more like out.

My lower back and I got into a fight and the lower back won. So I’m getting familiar again with my heating pad and just took a Flexeril. Aleve didn’t seem to be helping much this time. GAgal, hold down the fort! You can do it!

@36 Thanks jules. Speaking of blattering fools on the other side, I remember Sarah Palin’s famous word salads in ’08. If I tried real hard, I could look at one of her statements, throw in a couple of commas, add a period here and there, and make a little bit of sense out of it. Not so with Trump – he can’t even finish a sentence. It just trails off…

@37 Luna, at times I would find myself yelling at my computer or the TV “Am I the only one noticing this?!”.

In diplomatic terms, it’s a way of appearing to offer compromise while holding firm to certain minimum standards.

That’s what made Hillary made such a good Senator and Secretary of State (and every other endeavor she was successful with). Too many people bristle at the word compromise. I trust that when Hillary does compromise, she won’t give away the farm.

@39 Ouch Fredster! Sorry about your back. I’ll do my best to hold down the fort. I’m pretty good at talking to myself. 🙂

New polls:
WBUR out of NH Hillary +15
Detroit News MI Hillary +9
Franklin Marshall College PA likely voters +11 registered voters +13
Suffolk University FL Hillary +6 (drops to +4 with Johnson and Stein)
McClatchy Marist National poll Hillary +15

Yee Haw!!

What Hillary has been dealing with for years that no other politician has.

I’m loving the fact that right now – at this time – with the polls as they are 538 has Hillary with 79.9% chance to win over Trump’ 20.1. That will change as new polls are done but it’s great to see right now. Also, electoral votes are 341/195.

Spot on article. There are a lot of truths here, but I’ll just start with this.

If we really want our girls and young women to aim high, we should tell them the truth. They’re in for a fight, and there won’t be anything fair about it.

Because we’re telling them the biggest fattest lie in the world if we let them believe that Hillary Clinton’s main problem is Hillary Clinton. Her problem is her gender.

GAgal, thanks for all of the links to polls and other articles. I appreciate it.

I’m rousing myself to take my next Flexeril in about a 1/2 hour. Perhaps that, shower massage thing on my back and then some more heating pad. Such an exciting life. 😉

Maybe there’s hope for Kansas after all. Eleven tea partiers have been ousted by “moderate” Republicans with three more leaning that way.

Hoo boy. Meeka just got a dose of what she and tons of other media have been throwing at Hillary forever. She’s obviously upset about the state of Trump. (as well she should be since she helped create it) Her voice is cracking at the horror of what’s happening and that Donny Douche “marketing” guy ignored what she said and made a comment about her voice. She sighed. How does it feel Meeka? How does it feel when the words you say are disregarded because you have a quaver in your voice. Yeah… that’s what I thought. Sigh, indeed.

Widdertonians— lurker here and prolix’s shadow… keep him in your thoughts… like a true southern male he has trouble keeping rhythm. All is well, he will just be afw (away from widdershins) for potentially a day or two.

Fredster, sending you get well wishes! Also, hope Prolix is well and will be back soon.

@49, Meeka’s getting a taste of what she’s dished out? Aww, what a shame.

@50 HB Elam thanks for the message. Will do.

Hillary just did a great presser where she once again talked about emails and “likeability”. I don’t know how much more clear she could possibly be. Of course nothing will ever good enough for some people.

HAHA! Just like I said – FOX news are saying she was not clear and keep editing her sentence about “short-circuited” to make it negative. Once again, twisting words.

Here’s a piece regarding Republicans tendency to be just fine with policy – until they find out Obama agrees with it. And what it all boils down to.

As careful studies of the tea-party movement revealed, what animated Republican voters was a fear of cultural change. Their anti-statism was confined to programs that seemed to benefit people other than themselves. Racial resentment and ethnocentrism, not passion for limited government, drove the conservative base.

Great first post, GAgal. I look forward to reading many more.
Thanks, too, for the link to The National Observer column.
Every word is true.
I am getting so tired of the people, ostensibly on our side, who pepper every article with words like, “Hillary’s heavy baggage,” or “Of course, Hillary is very far from a perfect candidate,” or “Hillary’s many trust issues.”
They’re creating a false equivalency between the most prepared candidate for the Presidency and the least prepared.
If-God or Goddess forbid-we elect Trump as President, the world will reap a whirlwind the likes of which we’ve never seen before.

A virtual massage and good energy sent to you, Fredster.

@57: Thanks Sue. I’m better today. I think I want to check out this Aleve TENS unit I’ve seen advertised on tv. I’ve heard of the TENS units before but want to see what people say about this particular one before I fork over some money for it.

NEW POST COMING UP MOMENTARILY (as soon as I hit the publish button)

Diagramming the Dumpsterfire’s sentences? Easy.

(Actually, this is an attempt to figure out how to post a pic in a comment. It’s just a diagram of DNA in its normal (non-replication) state. Big mass of wavy curly lines going all over the place. I thought it was even better as a diagram of whayshisface’s words.)

Sorry to hear you feel bad, Fredster! Hang in there!

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