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Thanks so much and enjoy today’s Ailantha!
QUICK, WHAT'S A PREPOSITION?
To this end, the students were given a sheet of paper on which a variety of words were superimposed over a coloring book page which could be colored in after each of the words had been written on a line in the correct word category column at the top of the page.
A verb, I explained, is an action, something that you can do. An adverb is a word that tells how or when you're doing the thing you're doing. A pronoun is a word you use for a person or thing when you're not using their name, like I, you, he, she, it, we, you, and they, this, that, these, those. But, I expanded, pronouns can also be used when you're talking about something that belongs to someone, like my, your, his, hers, its, ours, their, theirs.
"I know about all those," my grand daughter interjected while demonstrating for me her prowess with iphone effects.
"Well," said I, "a preposition is..." And I drew a blank. I could not explain to my grand daughter what a preposition was.
Which, ironically, is not to say that I wouldn't know a preposition if I saw one. In fact, what I have to say about propositions is along the lines of what United States Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart had to say about obscentiy in the 1964 case of Jacobellis v. Ohio, in which a movie theater owner in the town of Cleveland Heights was convicted on obscentiy charges for showing the film "Les Amants," the award-winning 1958 masterpiece of French director Louis Malle.
Anyway, that's me and prepositions. I can't describe one but I know one when I see one, thanks to Sister Mary Aquinas, my sixth grade teacher who required her students to memorize the prepositions, which I dutifully did and remember to this day:
About, above, across, around, at,
Before, behind, beside, between,
By, down, during, except for from
In, into near of off on,
Through, to, towards, up, upon, under, with
I still don't know what a preposition is, though of course I could easily find out in an internet minute. But I've decided not to. Sometimes it's more fun to learn something organically, or just not know it.
And so, to that end here is my question: Does anybody know what a preposition is?