Oppose and Opposed To

By Maeve Maddox

A reader questions the use of the preposition against to follow the verb oppose in this example from an entertainment site:

[Madonna] wanted to be the only female voice of the band, and opposed against the introduction of another female vocalist.

The reader asks, “Isn’t opposed enough?”

Yes. In this sentence, the meaning of opposed is “objected to” or “was against.” The transitive verb is sufficient: “She opposed the introduction of another female vocalist.”

NOTE: The verb oppose has several meanings. This post is about the use of oppose to mean, “to object to,” “to be against.”

Used transitively, oppose is followed directly by a noun or a pronoun (its direct object). Here are examples of correct usage:

There are also personal, political, religious, and spiritual reasons to oppose capital punishment. 

Top Ten Reasons to Oppose the World Trade Organization 

Why I oppose Common Core standards

The men and women who opposed woman’s suffrage did so for many reasons. 

Oppose also functions intransitively (no object). When it is followed by a prepositional phrase, the preposition to use is to, not against. Here are examples of intransitive use:

Coach Gus Malzahn not opposed to switching divisions

Why so many immigrants in Germany are opposed to the refugee influx

Here are some examples of unidiomatic uses of oppose, with suggested corrections:

INCORRECT: Woman Becomes an Atheist After She Opposed Against Prayer at Her Son’s School 
CORRECT: Woman Becomes an Atheist After She Opposed Prayer at Her Son’s School 

INCORRECT: “I think this administration is adamantly opposed against fossil fuels, period,” said Young, Alaska’s sole House member.
CORRECT: “I think this administration is adamantly opposed to fossil fuels, period,” said Young, Alaska’s sole House member.

INCORRECT: Are these people also opposed against the genocide the Caliphate is doing against Christians and Yazidis? 
CORRECT: Are these people also opposed to the genocide the Caliphate is doing against Christians and Yazidis? 

INCORRECT: Yet there are plenty of [people] who are opposed against the “scientific facts” you throw around about vaccines.
CORRECT: Yet there are plenty of [people] who are opposed to the “scientific facts” you throw around about vaccines.

NOTE: A better revision for this example would be to choose a different verb altogether: “Yet there are plenty of [people] who do not accept (or believe) the “scientific facts” you throw around about vaccines.”

INCORRECT: The Supreme Court of India opposed against any sort of hooliganism in the name of ‘bandh’ in 1998, but political parties still organize them. 
CORRECT: The Supreme Court of India opposed any sort of hooliganism in the name of ‘bandh’ in 1998, but political parties still organize them. 

The concept of “against” is built into the verb oppose.

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