A tantalizing entry at Renee’s recounts in summary fashion the sad tale of Maksim Grek (Maximus the Greek), brought to Russia in the early 16th century to translate religious manuscripts and then imprisoned for years for allegedly corrupting the text; Renee says, “When one reads these translations, the most visible evidence of Maksim’s non-Slavic origin is prepositions: from time to time Maxim uses a calque translation from Greek rather than the correct Russian preposition.” (Incidentally, the preface to Meletii Smotryts’kyi’s Hrammatika slavianskaia [Slavonic Grammar] (Moscow, 1648) “includes passages attributed to Maximus the Greek.” Thus I shoehorn in a mention of the excellent website of the Ucrainica at Harvard exhibition, with reproductions of all sorts of old books.)

Renee’s post inspired Margaret Marks of Transblawg to post her own prepositional entry, including a set of test sentences calling for you to fill in the correct preposition. (As an American, I don’t want any preposition at all in “4. to make money from dealing ….. heroin.”)


  1. Thanks, LH
    Theater of the 20’s part is great. Especially that charming book of marches ‘for fortepyan” (“Tym, shcho liahly holovamy”- I presume the author didn’t mean Jews, killed in pogroms by Chervona Armiya)
    And theater costumes – I wish I could see it…

  2. Why don’t you want somebody to make money from dealing in heroin?

  3. No, my point was that I don’t say “dealing in heroin,” I just say “dealing heroin.”

  4. Right… but try reading my question above without any preposition in between dealing and heroin — doesn’t sound very good, does it?

  5. Sounds fine to me. We must speak different dialects.

  6. Interesting. I also don’t want a prepostition with ‘heroin’.
    If I substitute another word, such as ‘grain’, then the prepostition ‘in’ becomes necessary. It’s only with ‘drugs’ or some particular drug that the preposition sounds wrong to me.

  7. Michael Farris says

    For what it’s worth, both ‘dealing heroin’ and ‘dealing in heroin’ sound fine to me but have different connotations
    dealing heroin – makes me think of an actual, retail (as it were) sale
    dealing in heroin – makes me think of a more middleman kind of operation, a wholesaler if you will (who maybe deals in other substances, legal or otherwise as well)
    I don’t know if I’d actually normally make that difference and both sound okay. But when I put them next to each other they seem a little different.

  8. scarabaeus stercus says

    Excuse me? Am I dealing in dice? or am I dealing dice? when I sit on [at][in]the crap table . Just asking?

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