In one of Mordechai Schiller’s language articles he mentioned prepositions. I have a few comments and questions.
I am pretty sure that when you say, “I graduated from college,” you must include the word “from.” However, I have seen and heard many people who “graduated from college” omit the word “from.” Has this become acceptable or is it considered wrong or non-standard English?
Is “He escaped New York” correct?
Is “He escaped prison” correct?
It seems to me that many people say, “Would you like a coffee?” What happened to the words “cup of”?
Avrohom Yanovsky, Westchester County, N.Y.
Mordechai Schiller responds:
Child, you cut me to the quick. I got through college, but it was gradual. I took off time to learn. When I did get my diploma from Queens College, my mother, a”h, hung it up. I took it down and put up my eighth-grade diploma instead. I took more pride in graduating from Yeshiva of Eastern Parkway.
As for prepositions, I don’t like to take a position. I know my place. But William Safire, a generally genial word genius, definitely looked down on graduates who dropped their froms. Though he wasn’t graduated from any college — he dropped out of Syracuse University — he took a dim view of infromal graduates. (Yes, that’s a word. I just made it up.) To graduate without the from is to mark calibrations on a tube. One is graduated from a university. He concluded, “To say, ‘I graduated college,’ rather than, ‘I graduated from college,’ is to be a language slob and a discredit to whatever learning factory mailed you a diploma.”
As for your other questions, yes, it is definitely correct to escape from New York. Nobody in his right mind escapes to New York. As for the correctness of escaping prison, you’d have to consult a corrections officer.
My ear tells me “have a coffee” is incorrect. The rest of me tells me I need a coffee right now. So I’ll say thank you and go brew some.