Button Pushers

“Where’s it at?”
“I could care less.”
“Less people.”

The first two sentences are or contain linguistic items that drive people crazy. I’ve heard any number of people complain about them. They are equal-opportunity annoyances. The third phrase is one that only a few people seem to be bothered by anymore, and I’ve already addressed why in this very sentence. We’ll get to that.

The at in the first phrase is actually a preposition that lends the sentence more precision. It’s not correct grammar in the traditional sense, but it does serve a purpose, albeit a redundant one. “At” is used to denote a specific location in time or space. No one cringes when “at” is used in a sentence. “She’s at home/school/the mall/a friend’s house.” “The party is at 10:00” The preposition serves to locate the item in time or space. Why is it cringe-worthy in a question? Is it because of the drilling we’ve all gotten about not ending a sentence in a preposition? Hasn’t that already been debunked? We have come to view the question ending in “at” as uneducated and that is what we are railing against. See? I just ended that sentence with a preposition, for just as Churchill, whether he said it or not, there are some things up with which I will not put. Continue reading