Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Regret About/For


Here are two examples of superfluous prepositions in Singapore English (SgE), the first from the broadsheet The Straits Times (15 February 2010) and the other from a notice at one of Singapore’s more popular museums.

In Standard English (StdE), regret as a verb is transitive, meaning it takes a direct object (underlined) and no preposition, e.g. He regretted his indecision over the sale.  Similarly, StdE would have He regretted what had happened and We regret (any) inconvenience caused where the SgE examples above have regretted about and regret for.

In SgE, the use of prepositions with (what in StdE are) transitive verbs is very common.  Typical examples include discuss about, emphasize on, source for, relook at, rework on, study/research on, partner with, demand for and request for. 

On the other hand, SgE uses some verbs transitively where in StdE they would be intransitive and require a preposition.  Hence, in SgE one may apply leave and reply him, whereas StdE would have these as apply for leave and reply to him.