Preposition deletion

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Sun Nov 30 20:19:34 UTC 2008

"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!


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 -

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