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With or Without ๐Ÿ“๐Ÿ“œ


SoundEagle in Use WITH Caution Or Not At All

No, Thank You

If you could permanently ban a word from general usage, which one would it be? Why?

As a preposition, with is supposed to be a simple, ‘innocent’ word functioning in similar ways to those of other prepositions such as ‘in’, ‘at’, ‘over’, ‘under’, ‘toward’ and ‘before’:

Having purchased a pizza with his own money, Charlie Brown departed with Snoopy who picked a fight with Woodstock earlier.

The first with signifies “as an instrument; by means of”; the second denotes “in the company of; alongside; along side of; close to; near to”; and the third means “against”.

This particular W word, like many other much abused four-letter words, has been strained, stretched and wranggled excessively in its usage. Anyone contemplating starting a sentence with the W word is staring down the barrel of an unruly gun prone to firing ungrammatical projectiles. For those who wish to be clear, logical and expressive, it is a word fraught with danger, especially to the unwary.

The following examples demonstrate the various types of error in contemporary usage of with. Corresponding corrections are provided as brown texts framed by light blue borders.

To begin with, with is often misused with the present participle to express causal connection or temporal relationship:

With Charlie Brown’s watch showing five o’clock, Snoopy signals Woodstock to leave.

Now that Charlie Brown’s watch is showing five o’clock, Snoopy signals Woodstock to leave.

With the rain barely stopping after a heavy pour, Woodstock flies impatiently out of the window.

The rain barely stopping after a heavy pour, Woodstock flies impatiently out of the window.
Barely has the rain stopped after a heavy pour, Woodstock flies impatiently out of the window.

On numerous occasions, with has been clumsily conscripted alongside the present participle to explain or elaborate what has already been stated:

Charlie Brown’s watch is showing five o’clock, with even Snoopy signalling Woodstock to leave.

Charlie Brown’s watch is showing five o’clock, even Snoopy signalling Woodstock to leave.
Since Charlie Brown’s watch is showing five o’clock, even Snoopy is signalling Woodstock to leave.
In view of the fact that it (or the time) is five oโ€™clock by (or according to) Charlie Brownโ€™s watch, even Snoopy is signalling Woodstock to leave.
Now (or Given or Considering) that the time on Charlie Brown’s watch is five o’clock, even Snoopy is signalling Woodstock to leave.

The rain barely stops after a heavy pour, with Woodstock flying impatiently out of the window.

The rain barely stops after a heavy pour, Woodstock flying impatiently out of the window.
The rain barely stops after a heavy pour, and Woodstock flies impatiently out of the window.

Exceeding the scope of a simple preposition, with is frequently conflated with the past participle to explain or elaborate what has already been stated:

With Charlie Brown’s watch shown to be passing five o’clock, Snoopy is signalling Woodstock to leave.

In view of the time on Charlie Brown’s watch (being shown to be) passing five o’clock, Snoopy is signalling Woodstock to leave.
Now (or Given or Considering) that the time on Charlie Brown’s watch is (or has) past five o’clock, Snoopy is signalling Woodstock to leave.

With the rain barely stopped after a heavy pour, Woodstock flies impatiently out of the window.

Though the rain barely stops after a heavy pour, Woodstock flies impatiently out of the window.
Though the rain has barely stopped after a heavy pour, Woodstock flies impatiently out of the window.
The rain barely stopping after a heavy pour, Woodstock flies impatiently out of the window.

Even in the absence of the present or past participle, with has been tenaciously forced into hard labour, thus usurping more natural and exact constructions:

With scarcely enough time to continue, both Charlie Brown and Snoopy signal Woodstock to leave.

When there is scarcely enough time to continue, both Charlie Brown and Snoopy signal Woodstock to leave.

With the cessation of rain after a heavy pour, Woodstock flies impatiently out of the window.

Upon (or Following) the cessation of rain after a heavy pour, Woodstock flies impatiently out of the window.

Beware of misusing or overusing With. โ€œBadโ€ English is not necessary or always one where the usage is different, informal or colloquial; it is, and can be, anything that reduces the quality, comprehensibility, clarity, logic and/or expressive strength of a manuscript.

Proper or Preferable

Improper or Less Preferable

Since (or As or Now that) the living standard of those people has been improved significantly by the advent of electricity, they begin to seek out better amenities and more sophisticated entertainments.

Those people begin to seek out better amenities and more sophisticated entertainments since their living standard has been improved significantly by the advent of electricity.

The living standard of those people has been improved significantly by the advent of electricity. As a result, they begin to seek out better amenities and more sophisticated entertainments.

With the living standard of those people being improved significantly by the advent of electricity, they begin to seek out better amenities and more sophisticated entertainments.

With significant improvement in the living standard of those people since the advent of electricity, they begin to seek out better amenities and more sophisticated entertainments.

Those people begin to seek out better amenities and more sophisticated entertainments, with their living standard being improved significantly by the advent of electricity.

Those people begin to seek out better amenities and more sophisticated entertainments, (with) their living standard having been improved significantly by the advent of electricity.

Since reading outside the house is no more difficult than it is inside, and since she enjoys Nature, she is increasingly fond of reading aloud in the courtyard. She has a particular liking for the works of Shakespeare. As usual she strolls to the courtyard this morning. Already waiting at a secluded spot, her brother feigns not to pay any attention to her wont but intends to annoy her in one or more clever ways, for he derives his satisfaction from playing an ingenious prank. He will only be satisfied when an impish, roguish act is done. Having successfully accomplished yet another โ€œmissionโ€ at his sisterโ€™s expense, he promptly retreats indoors to relive and savour the moments that he had just experienced outdoors, moments freshly engineered for his own amusement. Increasingly confident, he resolves to realise such a plan at least twice a week, should this be within his power.

{zero occurrence of โ€œwithโ€ and 150 words in total}

Use WITH Caution Or Not At All

With reading outside the house being no more difficult than inside, she is increasingly fond of reading aloud in the courtyard with a particular liking for the works of Shakespeare. As usual with her, she strolls to the courtyard this morning. As with her brother who is already waiting at a secluded spot, he pays no attention to her wont, but with an intention to annoy her with one or more devious ways. Satisfaction to him will only be achieved with an ingenious prank. He will only be satisfied with committing an impish, devilish act. With yet another โ€œmissionโ€ being completed successfully at his sisterโ€™s expense, he promptly retreats indoors with the sole purpose of reliving and enjoying in his mind the favourite times of what happens outside earlier, which he has recently engineered for his own amusement. With his confidence increasing, he resolves himself to make this happens with a frequency of at least twice a week, by hook or by crook.

{12 occurrences of โ€œwithโ€ and 163 words in total}

Visit SoundEagle’s Writing Guidelines for more information.

Submitted as a response to Daily Prompt: No, Thank You.

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