"on accident" vs. "by accident"
Grammar Expert, Growing up my mother was adamant we use "by accident" and "on purpose" vice "on accident", which is quite common in my home town. I met a middle school English teacher who wasn't familiar with my mother's rule. Therefore, I'm now curious if it was my mother's personal preference or if she was following a grammar rule? Please clarify. Thank you, D.J.
Djt, your mother was correct. The preposition that goes with accident is by, not on. By accident has the same meaning as the adverb accidentally or the prepositional phrase by chance.
By the way, we don't use by accident, nor the other 2 synonyms I mentioned above, to refer to an unfortunate happening that causes injury, harm or loss; for that meaning, we use accident as a noun: She had a car accident, but she wasn't hurt.
I hope this helps.
|link||edited Feb 19 '13 at 13:34 Shawn Mooney Expert|
Just because a study shows that people are doing something that does not mean that that "something" is correct. Studies also show that 40% of the population is situationaly ethical, meaning that they will be unethical if they can get away with it. Does that make being unethical okay? Should we just adapt to changing ethics? I doubt that you would agree.
More than this, you should read the paper yourself, it is actually quite short and is available here: http://www.inst.at/trans/16Nr/01_4/barratt16.htm.
If you review her methodolgy you will see that she conducted a small survey in four states (a total of 269 participants in all), and the majority of her sample are from lower income areas. Additionally, she does not state anywhere in her paper that she is willing to adapt to the change, she merely explores the phenomena. Personally, while I appreciate her efforts as a preliminary foray into the subject, I find her methodology, expecially her population sample, to be questionable and I would not accept her findings without seeing them subjected to retesting with a more representative sample of the US population, in a controlled study.
As to your question of resources, neither I, nor any of the resources that I have consulted, have found any other resources that specifically list "by" as the preposition to use with the word accident, however, every example in every reference book that I have consulted does employ the preposition "by" in their examples of sentences using the word accident. I have not seen one example of a grammar reference using the preposition "on" in conjunction with the word accident. I personally cringe everytime I hear someone say "on accident". It is a documented fact that our educational system is failing and I suspect the explosion of the use of "on accident" is a reflection of the degradation of the U.S. educational system, and the failure of parents to correct their children because they themselves are products of a poor educational system. There is nothing wrong with insisting that your children use proper grammar and I applaud your desire to ensure that your children speak properly. I have always considered it part of my responsiblity as a mother to ensure that my child use proper grammer.
|link comment||answered Jul 12 '13 at 22:14 Tina Van Rikxoord New member|
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