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This may sound like a flippant question but it isn't

Hello all, this may sound silly but these days everyone (especially tv adds) say "for free" The reason I ask is, have I had it wrong all my life that if something is free, then we say "this is free" and not this is for free. Otherwise we we would need a bag of "frees" Or did my parents and teachers guide me incorrectly. The other question is, do I now have to write: "Get your hands off of me" or can I still write "get your hands off me"?
I ask because I think I know but am no longer sure. If I am writing then I need to get as much correct as I can. There are more things like this but it would become a list and I think these are the two main ones that bug me.
Or is it just Americanisms? and if this is the case do I have to learn the way they use English.
I hope that makes sense to anyone who reads this post.
Thanks in advance. Regards Paul G

Asked by: Paul Garside

  1. Alex Kingsley on March 20, 2018

    Get your hands off me is still the norm, I think.
    Regarding Orwell's rules, I agree strongly with rule 1, not so much rule 2 and 3. You should use long words and padding words if they enhance the rhythm and beauty of your sentences.

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  2. Adrian Sroka on March 19, 2018

    Hi, Paul.

    I hope Orwell's rules for writing are of help to you.

    George Orwell’s 6 rules for writing

    1. Never use a metaphor, simile or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.

    2. Never use a long word where a short one will do.

    3. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.

    4. Never use the passive where you can use the active.

    5. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.

    6. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything barbarous.

    I hope that helps.

    Good luck.

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  3. Gordon Gange on March 18, 2018

    Couldn't agree more. I hate the dreaded 'grocer's apostrophe'. I don't know about you, but one of my pet hates is that we're losing nouns and verbs. We have horrible phrases like 'there's a disconnect' and one I heard three times in one interview: 'We're thinking of relocationing.'
    Having said that, I'm writing a novel, and I started by choosing how each character would talk. I wrote lists of words and expressions that each might uniquely use.' You could have some fun doing that. But unless I want to characterise someone, I absolutely refuse to use 'like' as an adverb. I still can't stand people saying 'it looks like it's going to rain.' (I suppose I should have (or should it be should of?) put Eats Shoots and Leaves as my favourite book--well it is one of them.

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  4. Lorraine Swoboda on March 17, 2018

    Americanisms creep in, but you don't have to use them, Paul. Be true to your own language! You are English, writing English - stick to that.
    You can get something free, as in free of charge. It's a corruption of sorts to say it's for free; comparing it's for free with it's for 5p - it implies there's a charge of 0p. It's nonsense; you can't get something of free because free isn't a charge - it's a neutrality, on the grounds it's neither a cost nor a negative cost.
    Get your hands off me, not off of me: the 'of' is redundant.

    Lorraine

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  5. Paul Garside on March 15, 2018

    Thank God and thank you all that is not just li'l ole me, oops was that an Americanism. So sorry, I am just weak willed I suppose.
    But seriously, I did not want to have to rethink everything I am typing to make sure it fits in with "a trend".
    I will carry on as (has as been said) the way I were learnt!
    Sorry I can't help rubbish jokes.
    Again thank you all for taking the time to confirm my own thoughts. I know that I often need certain things affirming, just in case.
    Kind regards as always, Paul

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