Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Prepositions are Hard

Or so you might think, if you listen to KDFC at all. Their announcers have a bizarre new tic: "And next we'll hear music from Claude Debussy." "That was [some work or another], from Antonin Dvorak."

No, no, a thousand times no.

Here are some definitions produced by a Google search on the preposition from:

  1. 1. indicating the point in space at which a journey, motion, or action starts.
    "she began to walk away from him"
    • indicating the distance between a particular place and another place used as a point of reference.
      "the ambush occurred 50 yards from a checkpoint"
  2. 2.
    indicating the point in time at which a particular process, event, or activity starts.
    "the show will run from 10 to 2"
  3. 3.
    indicating the source or provenance of someone or something.
    "I'm from Hartford"
  4. 4.
    indicating the starting point of a specified range on a scale.
    "men who ranged in age from seventeen to eighty-four"
  5. 5.
    indicating the point at which an observer is placed.
    "you can see the island from here"
  6. 6.
    indicating the raw material out of which something is manufactured.
    "a varnish made from copal"
  7. 7.
    indicating separation or removal.
    "the party was ousted from power after sixteen years"
  8. 8.
    indicating prevention.
    "the story of how he was saved from death"
  9. 9.
    indicating a cause.
    "a child suffering from asthma"
  10. 10.
    indicating a source of knowledge or the basis for one's judgment.
    "information obtained from papers, books, and presentations"
  11. 11.
    indicating a distinction.
    "the courts view him in a different light from that of a manual worker"

"We'll hear music from Claude Debussy" implies that Debussy sent this music to the announcer or KDFC, as in, "I'm going to read a letter from Barack Obama now." 

"We'll hear music by Claude Debussy" is the right way to put it.

{Yes, I'm ashamed to admit, by implication, that I've listened to KDFC recently, but I was in the car at the time! Really!)


Anonymous said...

Of all the dumb things they do, this does not rise very high on the list.

Lisa Hirsch said...

And yet it is annoying as hell to hear.