RE: Grammar question

Subject: RE: Grammar question
From: Mark Levinson <MarkL -at- gilian -dot- com>
To: "'techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com'" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Sun, 15 Oct 2000 12:42:08 +0200

Classicists consider the "all of" construction to be nonsense
because "of" implies a fraction taken from the whole. In other
languages (I'm sure about French, Latin, and Hebrew, and
pretty sure about German, Spanish, and Italian), folks say
"half of" and "part of" and "most of" and "fifteen percent of"
but never "all of."

Edward Johnson's _Handbook of Good English_ says:

In a few constructions, such as _all of them_, _of_ is
necessary, but generally it is optional: _all of the money_,
_all the money_. Usually omitting _of_ improves a construction,
making it tighter, but the small unstressed word may be
desirable in the cadence of a specific sentence. ... It is
wise for a writer to have some reasonably consistent personal
policy-- an optional _of_ in one sentence and the omission of
and optional _of_ a sentence or two later is the kind of
inconsistency that, though trivial in itself, can make writing
seem characterless-- but usually there is no need to question
what comes naturally.

I would add that for _all of them_, often _they all_ or
_them all_ will substitute nicely.

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