Friday, December 26, 2014

dispose/dispose of: The Weekend Edition—Common Errors in English Usage Entry for Friday–Sunday, December 26–28, 2014

dispose/dispose of
If you want to get rid of your stuff you may dispose of it on Freecyle or Craigslist. A great many people mistakenly dispose of the “of” in this phrase, writing sentences like “Dispose your unwanted mail in the recycling bin.” You can also use “dispose of” to mean “deal with” (“you can dispose of your royalties as you see fit”) or “demolish an opposing argument” (“the defense attorney disposed of the prosecutor’s case in less than five minutes”).

“Dispose” without “of” works differently, depending on the meaning. Whereas to dispose of your toy soldiers you might take them to a pawnshop, to dispose your toy soldiers you would arrange them for battle. Most politicians are disposed to talk at length.

The Week’s End Extra from the Archives: “Rivera and Shakespeare: Perfect in every way” (July 17, 2013).

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