My first personal rant.
When I grew into my current age, I always heard things such as, “to prevent them from taking over their nest,” or, “to stop the fire from spreading.”
I guarantee to every single reader that the text that I placed into quotes sounds like natural English. Only a few of you of you are wondering what is special about those quotes. Only the most astute among you are double-checking why I chose those examples and trying to find out exactly what is wrong with them.
Let me give you the big one: “Scientists have figured out how to prevent meteors from hitting Earth.”
A little detail I hope you enjoy: When Earth is mentioned as a being, it is capitalized. When it is mentioned as, “the earth,” it is not. You can claim to be, “from Earth,” or, “from the earth.”
Little details aside, I have no doubt that so far none of you have really seen a problem with the grammar that I have provided as examples for this topic’s existence.
If you were not able to find the problems in the grammar in the examples I posted, it means you are…
Calm down and feel good.
The first time I heard the lack of the necessary “from” was when I was 12 and watching The Nature Channel. “In order to protect her cubs starving she needs to-,” huh? What? Her cubs are starving and in order to protect that she needs to-?
What. The. Fuck. Does that mean?
It took me a bit but I realized that the British announcer had left out the word “from”. The mother probably wants to protect her lion cubs from starving. Not to protect the actual act of starving.
Now, after 12 years of watching that channel and having never heard such a grammatical failure I figured it was just a mistake. And indeed the same mistake did not happen again in the same show.
It was 10 years later that I heard the same mistake, but by then I was living in Thailand and the guy who made that mistake was British.
I let it go because maybe it was a British thing or maybe it was only him and a few people from his area. Who knows. Let’s keep an open mind. I wasn’t in America anymore so maybe this had been happening all along and I just was not aware since I was in the American shell until then.
And then I heard it more and more often.
Until I reached my limit with a recent headline that explained that scientists have a new method for deterring meteors from hitting Earth.
Or should I say, “Deterring meteors hitting Earth”?
Enough is enough.
At first it was just some British guy doing a voice for a TV show. Fine.
But somehow it spread.
This is not acceptable on any level.
We don’t just throw out words we find inconvenient.
The meaning is entirely different.
#1: “Scientist have come up with a method to stop meteors hitting Earth.”
#2: “Scientist have come up with a method to stop meteors from hitting Earth.”
Who among you thinks it is any way acceptable to omit “from”?
Who among you thinks these 2 sentences mean the same thing?
#1 means that meteors are already hitting the earth and we can stop those meteors, which have already stopped by themselves because they’ve hit the earth. Have fun scientists, stopping something that has already stopped. But let’s put it in a more literal and digestible light shall we?
#Guy A: “I will stop a dog eating poison.”
#Guy B: “I will stop a dog from eating poison.”
Guy A will go around and look for a dog that is already eating poison and then tell it to stop. We assume he will make it stop eating the poison but in fact all he claimed was that he will make the dog stop, so as far as we know he will shoot an ice-ray at it and put it into suspended animation. He will stop a dog eating poison. Literally put, he will find a dog that is already eating poison and then stop it in some undefined way, which may very well be by freezing it, which surely does stop it.
Guy B will go to any dog and warn it not to eat poison in the future.
And using “prevent” instead of “stop” changes very little in the result, and in fact just damages the grammar. You will “prevent a dog eating poison”? Is that even English? Because the message you wanted to send was that you will “prevent a dog from eating poison,” which is a message English is fully equipped to handle, so why the fucking shortcuts?
“From” is not an insignificant word, so stop being lazy bastards with it (to any among you who are).
I haven’t seen this transgression much on this site so my harsh words are not directed towards any specific person here, but after seeing it becoming more and more popular than the correct and proper way of communicating an idea I have reached my boiling point.
Take notice that this is happening and don’t let it happen anymore. If you do this, stop.
If your friend does this, tell him or her to stop.
Whenever you hear anyone omitting the word “from” when it is necessary, correct him or her, and optionally punch him or her in the face to make sure it gets through.
Edited by L. Spiro, 05 July 2013 - 02:49 PM.