Re: Turn off the monitor vs turn the monitor off

Subject: Re: Turn off the monitor vs turn the monitor off
From: Peter Neilson <neilson -at- windstream -dot- net>
To: Nancy Allison <maker -at- verizon -dot- net>
Date: Mon, 05 Jan 2009 15:56:09 -0500

On the one hand, if English is based fundamentally on Latin then
prepositions are particles that appear before nouns. They are
"pre-positioned". In that case it makes little sense to the hopelessly
pedantic (or perhaps foreign-educated) writer to have a preposition with
nothing after it.

On the other hand, if English is a Germanic language then it seems
reasonable to have separable verbs. "Machen sie bitte das Licht aus,"
(that's turn please the light off) is the correct form in German; the
verb is ausmachen, to turn off. Dashing the hopes of Teutonophiles,
though, I must remark that English does not seem to have any verbs that
look remotely like offturn.

On the third hand, some say that it is both and neither. Its rules might
as well come from Mars. My Hispanic friends who are trying to learn
English seem to do best if they "just learn it" and do not seek reasons.

-Peter "am rinkter Hand" Neilson

Nancy Allison wrote:
> A friend is asking me what the rule is (or if there is one) that
> determines whether you write "Turn the monitor off" or "Turn off the
> monitor."
> I know "turn off" is a two-word verb (it has a meaning that is not
> expressed by the word "turn" alone). And, I suspect that "Turn off the
> monitor" is generally preferred . . . . but I dunno why I think that,
> except that it might be a little easier for non-native English speakers
> to follow, assuming that a reader might have poor English skills.

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Turn off the monitor vs turn the monitor off: From: Nancy Allison

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