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General Writing and Grammar Help/“What do they want of Mike Noonan?”

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Question
Dear Ted,

I’ve read this sentence at the back of a book: “What do they want of Mike Noonan?”
I would have written instead: ““What do they want from Mike Noonan?”
Which one of the two options is correct, and why?

Thank you,
Leonardo

Answer
Dear Leonardo:

I’ve read this sentence at the back of a book: “What do they want of Mike Noonan?”
I would have written instead: ““What do they want from Mike Noonan?”
Which one of the two options is correct, and why?

*** Once again, Leonardo, I agree with you.  Using "of" is "old style." Its usage is still correct, but it is not "current."

Here is a response from a grammar forum:

"Of me" is generally interpreted more like "from". It is a bit dated by now; it is best to stick with "from me".

Note that the end punctuation marks are placed AFTER the closing quotation marks.  This practice suggests that the author is British.

The answer to your question is that both are correct, but FROM is preferred.

Ted

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Ted Nesbitt

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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.

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

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

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