Confessions of a Grammar Nerd


It started way back in second grade. It was love at first sight, a moment of truth, of joy, of excitement as hopes I didn’t even realize I had hoped and dreams I didn’t know I had dreamed finally, instantaneously, suddenly, out-of-the-bluedly came true.

I had discovered English grammar.

Yes, this description may be prone to hyperbole, but the heart of my message is true: I love grammar. Ever since I learned the basics of nouns, verbs, and complete sentences, I have been enjoying a long-term relationship with grammar. And I have loved just about every minute of it.

Adjectives are splendid; adverbs happily dress up the sentence. Verbs say what is being done, and nouns relay who is doing it. But I have always had—and always will have—a soft spot and a special place in my heart for prepositions.

To all of you non-grammar nuts out there, those of you whose lives are rife with comma splices and your thoughts amok with run-on sentences, let me enlighten you. Though not essential, prepositions are integral to the health of the sentence. If nouns are the dots, prepositions connect them, transforming them into a beautiful picture. Take for example the sentence “The dog eats with the cat.” What a lovely image. In this sentence, “with” is the preposition. If you take out the preposition, observe what happens: “The dog eats the cat.” You see? Two distinctly different possibilities, one the epitome of natural harmony, the other… well, goodbye Fluffy.

Also, prepositions need to be treated with respect and not abused. They are not to be left dangling haplessly at the end, like a bit of stringy pizza cheese. No, they belong in the middle of the sentence, the heart of the action.

Obviously, I am a tad partial to this particular part of speech. And with good reason, for prepositions, though they don’t make “the world go round”, they do let you go “around the world.” 😉

Though I am rather fond of prepositions, they tend to be forgotten and ignored. People gravitate toward the flashier parts of speech, like the adverbs and adjectives. They prefer to know who is important and what they are doing. In the gossip magazine of grammar, the prepositions are left without paparazzi.

But that’s okay! Why? Because I haven’t forgotten them! And neither has God! Why? Simple:

Our God is a God of prepositions. And God can use even the most overlooked parts of speech to reveal His glory. Let me show you how.

The English language has 54 prepositions. And almost every single one of them describes God. He is above and beyond (all of creation, time, the world), among and around (our world in which we live), before and behind (everywhere we go), beneath and below (even the deepest places to which we fall), before and after (every moment of our lives), beside and by (us every step of the way), between (us and our fears), beyond and despite (everything we do to hurt Him), in and inside (our hearts where He dwells), during (our darkest hours and purest joys). He is for and from, near and outside, over and past, through and throughout, in and into, with, within and without.

So next time you see a preposition, pause a moment and ponder the God who made them and who, just like that preposition, holds everything together.

God bless.

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