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Re: !!!!!!!!! please have a look at my late post

Posted by Smokey Stover on January 02, 2004

In Reply to: Re: !!!!!!!!! please have a look at my late post posted by pdianek on December 27, 2003

: : : : : : 1.Schumacher was outshone by a jet. He lost 2-1 over to the Air Force fighter jet over 3 distances.

: : : : : : How to explain the first 'over'? Could we remove it?

: : : : : I can't explain it. Yes, we can remove it, unless it has a technical meaning I'm unaware of that relates to flight.
: : : : :
: : : : : : 2.He entered the messy room. A spider's web caught in his face.

: : : : : : Why 'caught in his face'? COuld we remove 'in'?

: : : : : The sentence is strange because "to catch in something" means to become stuck inside something. A piece of paper can become caught in the mechanism of a copy machine. But a face can't enclose a web. However, "A spider's web caught his face" would be wrong because it would mean the web held his face still, kept it from moving. Webs catch flies, but they aren't strong enough to catch faces.

: : : : When you get caught in a spider web your face is covered in web stuff which sticks to your face making you pick at it piece by piece to remove it. I think that the word "caught", in the sentence cited, can mean "encumber".

: : : I would have made it "a spider web caught ON his face", rather than IN. That way, some facial feature (for example, his nose) could have bumped into the web.
: : : So it may just be an unspotted typo, I rather than O.

: : What about the first question? How to explain the first 'over'? Could we remove it?

: Yes, the first "over" is superfluous -- at least in American English.

I don't know about 'over' in the Schumacher quote (why can't we have some context here?), but I do have views on spider webs caught in one's face. This seems to me as natural way as any other to say that you got spider web on your face. I don't remember Fowler or anyone else ruling on this particular construction, but it doesn't seem at all incongruous or misleading to me. We use prepositions all the time in constructions which don't really bear examination.