You are here:

General Writing and Grammar Help/Short of something - short on something

Advertisement


Question
Dear Ted:

Do you say, "to be, fall or run short OF something" or "to be, fall or run short ON something"?

If both are possible, do they have the same meaning?

If not, when should I use each of them?

Would you please give me some examples?

In addition to "be," "fall," and "run," what other verbs are associated or go with "short of/on something"?

Many, many thanks for your kind help.

Paolo

P.S. Ted, is the question "In addition to 'be,' 'fall,' and 'run,' what other verbs are associated or go with 'short of/on something'?" correctly written?

Answer
Dear Paolo:

Do you say, "to be, fall or run short OF something" or "to be, fall or run short ON something"?

If both are possible, do they have the same meaning?

If not, when should I use each of them?

*** In many instances, the two can be interchanged.  However, each one has its own meaning that does not work with the other one.

Would you please give me some examples?

EXAMPLES:

Janet RAN SHORT OF sugar and could not make the icing for her cake.

Mary RAN SHORT ON time and was unable to complete the examination.  [Paolo, in this example, you can also say that Mary "ran OUT of time."]

During the race, John twisted his ankle and FELL SHORT OF the finish line.  ["Fell short" often means that you are unable to complete your goal.]

Despite saving his money for a year, Michael WAS SHORT of the amount he needed to travel to London.




In addition to "be," "fall," and "run," what other verbs are associated or go with "short of/on something"?

*** I really can't think of many.  I suppose you could count such verbs as "finished."  Jack FINISHED SHORT of his desired goal.  Similar words like "ended" can also be used.

Many, many thanks for your kind help.

Paolo

P.S. Ted, is the question "In addition to 'be,' 'fall,' and 'run,' what other verbs are associated or go with 'short of/on something'?" correctly written?

*** Heavens!  I have quotation marks dancing in front of my eyes!  YES, the sentence is correct.  [How are you able to get all these punctuation marks right?]

Ted

General Writing and Grammar Help

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


Ted Nesbitt

Expertise

I am the bibliographic instruction and reference librarian at a public college. Some members of the English department recommend me to their students. I offer assistance in grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and paragraph development. My master`s thesis concerns William Faulkner`s tragic novels. I formerly taught advanced placement English at two schools in the Philadelphia area.

Experience

I have been one of the highest-ranked volunteers in this category for more than a decade.

Education/Credentials
B. A. and M. A in English; MSIS in Library & Information Sciences; graduate study in philosophy

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.