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I know I have been missing in action for a while, but believe me, I have my reasons. Today’s post is to answer two queries that came my way.

The first one is the use of the preposition “of” after “beware”.

Now, beware means to be cautious of. So if you write beware of in a sentence, and you replace the word beware with “to be cautious of”, you are essentially writing: to be cautious of of. Note the use of the repeated preposition? And yet, if you only write beware in the same sentence, you are avoiding the double preposition.

However, this is a very technical difference, and one would notice it only if one were nitpicking. English being such a dynamic language, it is perfectly acceptable to use beware both by itself or with the “of”:

Beware of stray traffic on the highway at this time of the day.

Beware the words of a politician who promises more than he delivers.

Shakespeare himself did not use the preposition “of” when he used “beware” in a sentence:

Caesar:

Who is it in the press that calls on me?

I hear a tongue shriller than all the music

Cry “Caesar!” Speak, Caesar is turn’d to hear.

Soothsayer:

Beware the ides of March.

Caesar:

What man is that?

Brutus:

A soothsayer bids you beware the ides of March.

Julius Caesar Act 1, scene 2, 15–19

The other query was whether I would use “dreamed” or “dreamt” in a sentence.

That depends, really. If I am writing for an American audience, I would use “dreamed” and for a British readership, I would use “dreamt”. Both words are correct and both work as the standard past participle or past tense of the verb dream.

It is, therefore, correct to say both the following sentences:

I dreamed of a pumpkin pie last night.

I dreamt of a diamond ring last night.

In literature, dreamt is probably the newer term. Historically, the word “dreamed” has been found in abundance in 16th and 17th century literature while “dreamt” appears rarely before the 19th century. In any case, both are correct, just like the following words would be:

Spelt…spelled

Learnt…learned

Post any more queries you have on the comment section and I shall try to answer them here.

 
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