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  1. #1

    Of...

    hello,

    some sentences or titles start with the preposition of. e.g. Of mice and men. Does it mean about? What is the significance of using of at the beginning?


    • Join Date: Jan 2006
    • Posts: 48
    #2

    Re: Of...

    Good question! I also wonder why this form is used. I think-but I am not sure- it is used to imply the point which has the most importance.


    • Join Date: Mar 2006
    • Posts: 671
    #3

    Re: Of...

    Quote Originally Posted by light
    hello,
    some sentences or titles start with the preposition of. e.g. Of mice and men. Does it mean about? What is the significance of using of at the beginning?
    Well, "Of mice and men" is the title of a John Steinbeck novel which referenced the line "The best laid plans of mice and men oft gang aglay." by the Scottish poet Robert Burns.

  2. rewboss's Avatar

    • Join Date: Feb 2006
    • Posts: 1,552
    #4

    Re: Of...

    It's rather old-fashioned, but it was a construction sometimes used in titles. "Of X" would mean "A novel/report/play/whatever on the subject of X".

    By the way, the Burns quote is:

    The best laid schemes o' mice an' men
    Gang aft agley,
    An' lea'e us naught but grief an' pain
    For promis'd joy.

    Burns wrote in a dialect known as Scots English, and there are many non-standard words, some of them from Gaelic. Here's a translation into standard English:

    The best laid schemes of mice and men
    often go wrong
    and leave us nothing but grief and pain
    instead of promised joy.


    • Join Date: Mar 2006
    • Posts: 671
    #5

    Re: Of...

    Quote Originally Posted by rewboss
    By the way, the Burns quote is:

    The best laid schemes o' mice an' men
    Gang aft agley,
    An' lea'e us naught but grief an' pain
    For promis'd joy.
    You're right. That'll teach me not to rely on memory .

  3. #6

    Re: Of...

    thank you coffa and rewboss. I didn't know that steinbeck made a reference to burns.
    still, when we see 'of' at the beginning of a title, it means 'about' or 'belongin to', and used for emphasis, correct?
    Can 'of' also be used at the begining of a sentence?

  4. Casiopea's Avatar

    • Join Date: Sep 2003
    • Posts: 12,970
    #7

    Re: Of...

    Additionally, Of Mice and Men could be interpreted as, relating to mice and men. If ever "Of" was used sentence-initially, it wasn't commonly used in that position.

  5. rewboss's Avatar

    • Join Date: Feb 2006
    • Posts: 1,552
    #8

    Re: Of...

    Of such things you do not need to worry. That's an example of sentence transformation, where the order has been changed from the neutral, normal order, and is used occasionally for reasons of emphasis, but most often in poetic language.

    Here's a more common example: Of all the gin-joints in all the towns in all the world, and she has to walk into mine. (Those may not be the exact words, but it's a well-known quote.) "Of all the X" is an idiomatic expression and is often placed at the beginning of a sentence.

  6. #9

    Re: Of...

    Thank you rewboss. It's clear for me now.
    By the way, these things may seem trivial for natives, but without my curiosity (not worry), I couldn't have learned 1/100 of what I know. I asked one more question and learned the famous quote from Casablanca and the meaning of gin-joint. Cheers

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