Doubled Preposition Trouble

Are you one of those writers who have a doubled preposition personality? I have to admit that I am, and that is why I ty to be self-conscious about them and why I self-edit.

You may not be aware that you use doubled prepositions. It took me a while to pick up on it. Just what is a doubled preposition? The best way to answer this question is to give a few examples: 1) Your character sits down on the sofa; 2) A character walks over to the house; 3) Another character looks over at the girl walking  by. Sound familiar?

Of course there is the occasional tripled preposition such as: 1) looking down below at; or 2) coming on over to.


I am sure you can see what I mean after reading these few examples, but what does it mean to you as a writer? Well, it could mean having a good story rejected by an agent or publisher. It also labels you as an amateur writer or, at best, an average writer.

There is, however, one instance where doubled or tripled prepositions are accepted and even beneficial. Dialogue! In this setting it can actually be beneficial in giving your readers an impression of the character. An impression that could, if handled properly, label your character as a simple person or an uneducated person. Through this type of dialogue, you can give personal information about your character without actually saying it.

So the next time you self-edit be sure to watch for those doubled or tripled prepositions. It could mean acceptance or rejection.

Faye M. Tollison
Author of: To Tell the Truth
Upcoming books: The Bible Murders and Sarah's Secret
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7 comments:

  1. Good reminder Faye. Every word has to work in a piece of writing and too many unnecessary propositions is not only the sign of sloppy writing but also impacts on the poetic flow of the work. I find reading outloud really helps with picking up on those.

    Magdalena
    Grab a free mini ebook sample of Black Cow now.

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  2. Useful post, Faye. So many writers don't seem to be conscious of this. Like Magdalena, I read aloud as I'm editing.

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  3. Thank you, Faye. I am a non-native speaker. American English never ceases to amaze me.

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  4. Nice reminder Faye. I see this a lot when I edit manuscript. I also call them weedy words because you don't need them. Another word I see overly used is "really". Every character is always "really" mad, sad, happy, excited, etc. LOL.

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  5. Great tips Faye! I will be sure to pay attention to these.

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  6. Great information Faye, and something we have to always watch for. I know as I write away, without censoring, I'll do the double preposition. That's why we self-edit! :)

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