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  1. #1
    birdeen's call is offline VIP Member
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    Default the preposition "on" with verbs in the modern slang

    I have a very limited contact with the English slang, which makes it difficult for me to understand certain processes. I've been noticing in the recent years that the preposition "on" has gained some kind of new function. So it seems to me at least. I was trying to remember as many examples as I could before starting this thread, but I feel I didn't do very well. What I could remember is

    to be hating on somebody
    to perv on somebody
    to pig out on something

    Not very much but I feel it's just the tip of the iceberg. What is interesting to me about these phrases is that it would seem perfectly logical to coin them without the "on". I've also heard phrases which I thought were estabilished and without the preposition, like "stand somebody up", with "on" added:

    She stood up on you.


    Am I right in thinking that there is a trend to turn transitive verbs and phrases into intransitive ones by adding "on" and to coin new verbs this way? If I'm right, is it limited to slang, internet slang or American internet slang? Is there a reason for this trend? Could you explain the function of this "on" to me?
    Last edited by birdeen's call; 23-Aug-2011 at 19:36.

  2. #2
    Raymott's Avatar
    Raymott is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: the preposition "on" with verbs in the modern slang

    Quote Originally Posted by birdeen's call View Post
    I have a very limited contact with the English slang, which makes it difficult for me to understand certain processes. I've been noticing in the recent years that the preposition "on" has gained some kind of new function. So it seems to me at least. I was trying to remember as many examples as I could before starting this thread, but I feel I didn't do very well. What I could remember is

    to be hating on somebody - I've never heard this.
    to perv on somebody
    to pig out on something

    Not very much but I feel it's just the tip of the iceberg. What is interesting to me about these phrases is that it would seem perfectly logical to coin them without the "on". I've also heard phrases which I thought were estabilished and without the preposition, like "stand somebody up", with "on" added:

    She stood up on you. - I've never heard this.

    Am I right in thinking that there is a trend to turn transitive verbs and phrases into intransitive ones by adding "on" and to coin new verbs this way? If I'm right, is it limited to slang, internet slang or American internet slang? Is there a reason for this trend? Could you explain the function of this "on" to me?
    I'm not sure. It could be an American thing - the adding of 'on' where it's not needed.
    But some phrases require 'on', just as others require other prepositions. You can't "perv sombody" or "pig out something" or "hang up" somebody.

  3. #3
    birdeen's call is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: the preposition "on" with verbs in the modern slang

    I saw "to be hating on somebody" a couple of days ago. It was the last straw that made this camel start a thread.

    So you don't feel "on" has gained any special function?

  4. #4
    Barb_D's Avatar
    Barb_D is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: the preposition "on" with verbs in the modern slang

    Now that I think about it, I have heard a few things, but not the ones you say. I'm thinking about "crushing on" to mean "to have a crush on."

    But then, unless my 14-year-old tells me, I wouldn't know what kids are using these day. I"ve only started to used "epic fail" recently and it's on it's way out, I'm sure.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  5. #5
    Raymott's Avatar
    Raymott is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: the preposition "on" with verbs in the modern slang

    Quote Originally Posted by birdeen's call View Post
    I saw "to be hating on somebody" a couple of days ago. It was the last straw that made this camel start a thread.

    So you don't feel "on" has gained any special function?
    Not in standard English. Some of these examples might come from Black American English (AAVE - African American Vernacular English, ebonics). It's hard to tell on the internet, and I'm not sure whether we have any regular members here who are fluent in AAVE.

    But let's look at one page:
    http://rawmultimedia.wordpress.com/2011/04/17/haters-i-see-you-hating/

    "There is always someone whining about something and hating on someone who doing it."
    "So can you admit you be hating?"
    This page could have elements of AAVE. One clue is the absence of 'is' in "who doing it", or as in, say, "He a bad man!" or "He be a bad man!"

    It's useful to look for other non-standard usages in texts which have a phrase that sounds strange.

    PS: I see now, from his YouTube video links and his home page that he's using elements of black English.
    Last edited by Raymott; 23-Aug-2011 at 21:02.

  6. #6
    Tdol is online now Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: the preposition "on" with verbs in the modern slang

    The author of that page says the following:
    There are so many levels to hating it’s ridiculous
    I got the idea from reading the text that hating on seems to be a higher degree than hating alone- maybe involving words or action rather than merely feeling it. I have asked the writer whether I am barking up the right or the wrong tree.
    Last edited by Tdol; 24-Aug-2011 at 04:41.

  7. #7
    birdeen's call is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: the preposition "on" with verbs in the modern slang

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    The author of that page says the following:


    I got the idea from reading the text that hating on seems to be a higher degree than hating alone- maybe involving words or action rather than merely feeling it. I have asked the writer whether I am barking up the right or the wrong tree.
    Yes, I'm getting a similar feeling. I think that "hating on somebody" is an activity, not a feeling. Other things aside, the continuous tense indicates that.

  8. #8
    britintheUS is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: the preposition "on" with verbs in the modern slang

    if you were "hating on" somebody... that term is often used by troublemaking teens...etc, people who are up to no good. Those kinds of things are usually said before they end up in a fight. So "hating on" is an emotion you might feel, that would drive you to act.

    "I don't know why he's hating on me"...

    Where "on" is used like that in other instances just phases me. It kind of sounds like being lazy and not wanting to use proper English.

  9. #9
    Vidor is offline Member
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    Default not a teacher

    Quote Originally Posted by birdeen's call View Post
    Yes, I'm getting a similar feeling. I think that "hating on somebody" is an activity, not a feeling. Other things aside, the continuous tense indicates that.
    That's accurate.

    "Pigging out", however, requires the "on" if you are going to mention the food you are pigging out on.

    Never heard "stood up on".

  10. #10
    scottab123 is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: the preposition "on" with verbs in the modern slang

    to be hating on somebody

    This is definitely American English, and it's typically used by African Americans and their extended communities. In my estimation, the formation emphasizes the transgression involved because it places the two individuals in a physical hierarchy (the book on the table) in which one person is above the other. It utilizes a similar construction to a few pre-existing phrasal verbs, such as: to lean on, to spit on, to hit on (just to name a few).

    The construction is not a feeling, but is instead an evaluation of someone's actions as being negative and disrespectful.

    I feel "to perv on somebody" and "to stand up on somebody" work in a similar fashion, in that they highlight the transgressive nature of the action.

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