I am not one to complain. But I heard it again yesterday.
Like the sound of fingernails scraping a chalk board, the “love on” phrase causes me to physically cringe. My shoulders rise as I draw a deep breath. My jaw involuntarily clenches.
What happened to: “We want to love the community!”
I am usually a fan of language evolution. I love new and clever ways that people re-purpose words. I marvel at their inventive and skillful use. But I have an issue with this latest trend.
The little “on” may have been introduced to emphasize the act of love. Or, maybe it entered the first sentence to demonstrate the physical act of love. I don’t know and I was not able find out (yes, I googled it).
So, can you please help me understand? How does making the object of the sentence (community) into a prepositional phrase (on the community) call a greater amount of attention to the act of love? I don’t know.
But I do know that …
I cook the vegetables; and I cook on the stove. I don’t cook on the vegetables.
I play the game; and I play on the ball field. I don’t play on the game.
The stove and the field are tools. They describe where I cook and where I play.
When a person states that they are going to “love on” someone/something, the focus of the sentence becomes the speaker. Prepositional phrases function as adjectives and adverbs. They clarify and describe. Turning someone(s) into a prepositional phrase demeans who they are. It’s unintentional, of course, but I feel it is true nonetheless.
Jesus told us to “love one another” (Matthew 22:37-39; John 13:34; John 15:12-13; Romans 13:8; 1 John 4:7). Over and over He gave the command to love God, our neighbors, and even our enemies. I’ve never seen the command translated to love on God, love on our neighbors, nor love on our enemies.
What are your thoughts on “love” versus “love on“? I am not a grammarian. Maybe I am taking this a bit too far, but would someone who knows the grammar rules please help with my word issue?