A local acquaintance, a Northerner married to a Southerner, once told me that during the first few years of residence in Atlanta, she often got lost on area roads and by-ways, necessitating a phone call to her husband, who would invariably ask her to tell him where she was “at”. “Where are you at?”, he would ask – or, more precisely, “Wear-yat?”
“What’s that all about,” she asked me, “that ‘at’?” I told her it was part of that renowned Southern charm, but don’t think she bought it.
I was reminded of that conversation this morning, when I opened the newspaper. The paper that arrives in my driveway six mornings a week is a publication I subscribe to in major part for its language. It is very well written, with the British syntaxes I learned to appreciate when I lived in England.
One story I enjoyed reading this morning is about a brighter employment outlook for new MBAs. Then my eyes were drawn to a graphic at the bottom of the page, that documented research among 2007 MBA graduates. One graph stated that the research had been conducted in “85 different countries survey respondents were based in”, while another explained it had involved “153 different business schools worldwide where alumni studied at”. “In”? “At”? I’m not used to seeing dangling prepositions in my newspaper! What’s that all about?
Anyway, I trust my readers know their grammar better than this, no matter where they’re “at”. :-)
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