Preposition deletion

Lynne Murphy m.l.murphy at SUSSEX.AC.UK
Mon Dec 1 10:44:30 UTC 2008

Using 'down' and 'up' without 'to' is allowable in British English in
certain contexts--whether there's a rule to this I'm not sure.  But one
goes 'down the pub' .  One also goes 'round' places, such as 'going round
Mary's house'--whereas in AmE I think I'd have say 'going around to M's
house'--but maybe I've just lost all of my intuitions.

Here's a bloggy example with up:
Tonight, I'm going up London Town to see my lovely Big Fella;

We have a final-year student who's just embarking on his dissertation
project on the loss of 'to' after 'go' in some contexts, e.g.  "I'm going
the pub".  My initial impression was that the contexts in which it happens
tend to be ones in which the destination is more than a physical
destination--it's an activity.  But we'll see what turns up when he's
researched it more properly.


--On 30 November 2008 15:19 -0500 Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM> wrote:

> "Let's go _down the basement_ is the standard usage here in the Boston
> area.
> In Saint Louis, another place where houses usually have basements, we
> said"...  _down in the basement_." I've also heard "... _down cellar."
> The usual OT anecdote.
> I once lived in Arlington Hills, MA, an area in which the surface is
> underlaid (or underlain?) by granite. Whoever built the house that I
> lived in must have felt that the lot was good enough for government
> work as it was, since, if you went down the basement, you found a
> granite knoll (or knob?), ca. six feet high and twenty feet in
> diameter, obviously the apex of one of the original hills, right in
> the middle of what was otherwise an entirely ordinary basement. The
> house had simply been built around and over the knoll? / knob?. Weird!
> -Wilson
> All say, "How hard it is that we have to die"---a strange complaint to
> come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
> -----
> -Mark Twain
> On Sun, Nov 30, 2008 at 11:39 AM, Grant Barrett
> <gbarrett at> wrote:
>> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
>> ----------------------- Sender:       American Dialect Society
>> <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> Poster:       Grant Barrett
>> <gbarrett at WORLDNEWYORK.ORG>
>> Subject:      Preposition deletion
>> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
>> -------
>> The sentences below come from a listener to the radio show, who says
>> she remembers them from her family in the 1950s.
>> "let's go across the park" = let's go across the street to the park
>> "let's go down the basement" = let's go down the stairs to the basement
>> I believe I've read something about this sort of preposition deletion
>> in the last few years, but I can't get enough purchase on the key
>> elements of it to get fruitful results online or in my library.
>> Any ideas as to whether this is a common dialect feature and if it's
>> been discussed elsewhere?
>> Thanks,
>> Grant Barrett
>> gbarrett at
>> 113 Park Place, No. 3
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> The American Dialect Society -

Dr M Lynne Murphy
Senior Lecturer in Linguistics and English Language
Arts B135
University of Sussex
Brighton BN1 9QN

phone: +44-(0)1273-678844

The American Dialect Society -

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