My friend Chip and I recently had an IM conversation so SWPL-esque and also incredibly dorky that I could not resist posting it here. It started with a discussion of micheladas, which might seem moderately hip, but then it all went to hell. *Observe:
me: I've been looking at several recipes on line.
The Cholula sounds good. I could drink that stuff. I wonder if Rooster sauce would be good.
Chip: Old people type "on line" for "online," Kristy.
me: It's just...not a word!
Chip: In 2010 it is.
But anyway, yes, I'd agree that Cholula would be better than Tobasco.
me: I guess. Online seems like an adjective, whereas on line seems like an adverbial phrase.
I'm sure my adherence to grammatical rules makes me much cooler.
Chip: Online is both an adjective and an adverb, I'd say.
"Online gaming" and "Researching online."
me: That's just not right, though! It defies all the conventions of how those things work.
See, no. Researching online is so inherently wrong.
Chip: I mean, the "on" is definitely not a preposition?
me: I think prepositions are prepositions no matter how they're used. Unless it's the infinitive form of a verb.
In some thing like "on line" used as an adverbial phrase, it's still sort of functioning as a preposition.
Chip: I say not a preposition because "online" has transcended being "on" something. The meaning has moved beyond the preposition.
Wait, but now you just typed "some thing." I'm thinking it's just your natural inclination to separate things that should be one word.
me: It hasn't really, though. Even when words combine and evolve, they retain some of their original meaning and form. (I missed that second part. He's probably right.)
me: Dorkiest conversation ever!
Chip: I would only have this conversation with an English teacher.
me: I may have to post this conversation on my blog.
Chip: Only dorks read your blog.
*Usage of "lol" has been removed to preserve the dignity of parties involved.