A WORD IN THE HAND: FROM

SUE DE GROOT | You know nothing from prepositions that dart to and fro like wild sheep

A column to satisfy your inner grammar nerd

21 October 2021 - 19:57 By Sue de Groot

It is sometimes assumed that the slang expression prevalent in parts of SA, “She knows from words” or “I know nothing from that” has seeped into English from Afrikaans, because “van” doubles as “of” and “from” in that language.

“Ek is van die Kaap” can be translated as either “I am from the Cape” or “I am of the Cape”. Both would pass muster with English grammarians, but when it comes to “Ek weet niks van skape nie” the correct translation is “I know nothing of (or about) sheep” and not “I know nothing from sheep”...

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