How To Avoid Preposition Overload

Preposition Overload can be defined as the superfluous use of prepositions. These are not always obvious. For example the sentence: “Where is the party at?”. In this sentence, “at” is not needed; the sentence “Where is the party?” makes perfect sense without the preposition.

Preposition Overload
There is something I like to call preposition overload. That’s when a writer or a speaker uses more prepositions than needed. Take a look at this first example. “Where is Jim at?” You notice right here that “at” is a preposition. However, this preposition is not needed. You don’t believe me?

We can draw a line through “at” and try reading the sentence without the preposition. “Where is Jim?” The sentence still makes perfect sense without the proposition. Take a look at this next sentence. “Where did Jim go to?” We’re going to draw a line through that preposition right there (to), and try reading the sentence without “to”. “Where did Jim go?” A good way of determining whether a preposition in a sentence is needed or not is just by crossing out the preposition or reading the sentence without the preposition and seeing if the preposition still sounds grammatically correct.

Take a look at this last example. It’s not quite as obvious. “He lives outside of the city.” That sentence may sound perfectly fine, but try saying the sentence without the word “of”. “He lives outside the city.” The sentence still makes sense without this preposition. Even though this isn’t very obvious, this is still a case of preposition overload. As a writer, you don’t want to use words that are not needed, because when you use more words than needed, it hinders the clarity of your writing.



by Mometrix Test Preparation | Last Updated: January 14, 2021