Monday, July 28, 2008

Keeping "of"s for elegance

Grammar Gremlins: Dropping 'of' in speech is common - but include it in writing

Is the word "of" necessary in the following sentence?
"He saw a couple of hundred people at the concert."
Omitting this "of" in speech is common, but it should be included in writing, especially that which "aspires to formality and elegance," according to Webster's Dictionary of English Usage.
" 'A couple' without 'of' seems to have begun being used like 'a few' and 'a dozen' in the 1920s," Webster's says.
The Associated Press Stylebook says of the phrase "couple of": "The 'of' is necessary. Never use 'a couple tomatoes' or a similar phrase."

------Also, can you imagine the first two verses of the elegant 1941 Glenn Miller hit "Moonlight Cocktail" without those "of"s?

G D7 G B7
Couple of jiggers of moonlight and add a star,

A7 E7 A7 E7 G/B A7
Pour in the blue of a June night and one gui - tar,

D9 Am7 D7 D9 Am7 D7
Mix in a couple of dreamers, and there you are:

G Em7 Am7 D7
Lovers hail the Moonlight Cocktail.

G D7 G B7
Now add a couple of flowers, a drop of dew,

A7 E7 A7 E7 G/B A7
Stir for a couple of hours 'til dreams come true.

D9 Am7 D7 D9 Am7 D7
Add to the number of kisses, it's up to you --

Am C A9 D7 G6
Moonlight Cocktail - need a few.


B7 F#m7 B7
Cool it in the summer breeze,

F#m7 B7 Em B7 Em
Serve it in the starlight underneath the trees.

A7 Em7 A7
You'll discover tricks like these

Em7 A7 D7
Are sure to make your Moonlight Cocktail please.

G D7 G B7
Follow the simple directions and they will bring

A7 E7 A7 E7 G/B A7
Life of another complexion where you'll be king.

D9 Am7 D7 D9 Am7 D7
You will awake in the morning and start to sing --

Am C A9 D7 G
Moonlight Cocktails are the thing.

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