Friday, March 19, 2010

Jesus H. Christ

Your butchering the English language makes the baby Jesus cry.

Do NOT use prepositions with the word "debate." You can't debate ON anything except your ass (if you happen to be sitting).

I'm a copy editor, and I must learn to accept that I will never have a job or a friend that doesn't inspire rage daily.


  1. The debate on Tuesday
    The debate about health care reform
    ?The debate on health care reform
    The debate in the green room
    The debate under the table

    ...yes, "debate on" doesn't work as a phrasal verb. That doesn't mean it can't take a prepositional phrase.

    Or are we going to have a debate on this topic? ^.-

  2. Thank you. Almost daily I see native speakers write what they are "debating on" doing, and it's driven me batty this week.

  3. Oh, I was wondering why you were complaining about using "on" with "debate". That clears things up. I don't remember seeing that particular construction ("I'm debating on whether...") in print, though I've heard it used verbally. I don't know that it's necessarily grammatically incorrect so much as a shorthand way of saying "I'm debating with myself on [the topic of] whether or not to..."

  4. Correct: I'm debating whether...
    Common idiocy: I'm debating on {verb}...

  5. Wait, so you see things like "I'm debating on eating" or somesuch? I'm not sure I've ever seen or heard such a thing.

  6. At least 4 times this just this week on people's facebook statuses. Statii?