Preposition Mistakes #5: Descend, Discuss, Return

By Maeve Maddox

One kind of preposition error is to follow a verb with a preposition when one is not needed.

descend
INCORRECT: Sunita Gale and her husband descend down Highclere Castle’s majestic staircase. Caption, Today site.
CORRECT : Sunita Gale and her husband descend Highclere Castle’s majestic staircase.

Descend is a transitive verb that means “to move from a higher to a lower position.” The idea of down is included in the verb descend.

discuss
INCORRECT: A meeting to discuss about a proposed homeless tent encampment in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood is scheduled for Monday evening.—Caption, Seattle television site.
CORRECT : A meeting to discuss a proposed homeless tent encampment in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood is scheduled for Monday evening

Discuss is a transitive verb. It is followed by a direct object, not a prepositional phrase. One discusses a plan, discusses a proposal, and discusses a topic.

return
INCORRECT: With the announcement Tuesday evening that the Chicago teachers strike had ended, Julie Greenberg-Jenkins said her North Center household would happily return back to its school-night routine.—News article, Chicago Tribune. 
CORRECT : With the announcement Tuesday evening that the Chicago teachers strike had ended, Julie Greenberg-Jenkins said her North Center household would happily return to its school-night routine.

To return is “to go or come back to a place, person or previous situation.” Following return with back is redundant.

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2 Responses to “Preposition Mistakes #5: Descend, Discuss, Return”

  • Scott Mellon

    What do you think about “excited for ..” I seem to be hearing it more lately.

  • Maeve

    Scott,
    As Huck might say, “excited for” gives me a case of the fantods.
    http://www.dailywritingtips.com/excited-about-not-for/

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