Function words are so slippery! Content words (words with semantic and grammatical value–think verbs, nouns, adjectives, and adverbs) feel concrete and envision-able. Function words, like conjunctions and articles–those little words that express relationships between words–feel far more abstract. They’re like traffic signs in the flow of meaning. Of the function words, prepositions, the words that generally refer to how concepts are related in time and space, are particularly tricky. They are key players in English idioms and a big headache for nonnative speakers.
But if you are a native English speaker, you have a bit of an obligation to get prepositions right. You do, after all, have the advantage of lifelong immersion in the language.
Which bring us to why the increasing appearance of constructions like excited for and bored of really rankles me. Are you excited for the new DVD? It’s possible that I would be excited about a new DVD, but excited for? Why, what’s happened to it? Did it win the lottery?
With bored of, it’s the high-sounding tone of that error that makes me wince. It’s like I could care less. About these last two particularly, if you’re going to make an unpleasant remark, please get usage right.