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Wrong use of the expression 'free'
Thread poster: Cybele1996
Cybele1996
Local time: 19:23
English to Spanish
+ ...
Jun 2, 2006

I have noticed the phrase 'for free' is used quite often in this website.

Please notice this is WRONG. It is incorrect usage which, unfortunately, has spread widely.

'Free' derives from the expression 'free of charge'. You wouldn't say 'FOR free of charge'. Correct usage would be, for example: 'I got this watch free' (or 'free of charge' or 'for nothing').


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Roger Parks  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:23
English to Spanish
+ ...
My two cents "for free" Jun 7, 2006

Melina Enjuto wrote:

I have noticed the phrase 'for free' is used quite often in this website.

Please notice this is WRONG. It is incorrect usage which, unfortunately, has spread widely.

'Free' derives from the expression 'free of charge'. You wouldn't say 'FOR free of charge'. Correct usage would be, for example: 'I got this watch free' (or 'free of charge' or 'for nothing').


Melina: There is no "wrong" usage from a linguistics perpective (a) unless you are a prescriptivist or (b) unless you are speaking of usage by a non-native speaker. Native speakers can pretty much say whatever they want unless their English teacher is listening. :>)

Languages are in a constant state of flux. The fact that the use of "for free" has spread widely, as you observe, is an indication that it may eventually become standard usage. Those who use the expression "for free" are not thinking about the etymology of the word "free". Although "free of charge" clearly still in use in some registers, such as in advertising, it is being replaced in by "free" in the colloquial register and may well eventually be replaced by "for free".

That is not to say that expressions like "for free" are not annoying while they're still moving from Point A to Point B (i.e., acceptance as the norm).

Roger


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Paul Malone  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 20:23
Member (2004)
French to English
+ ...
Please note! Jul 2, 2006

Please also note that 'please notice' could be considered by some to be verging on the erroneuous

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Cybele1996
Local time: 19:23
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you! Jul 2, 2006

Oh thank you! I hadn't noticed that. I'm not saying I know everything and never make mistakes. But I will share what I DO know. That's what this board is about, right? Thanks again

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