Here the sentence:

They of seem so helpless and frail (about flowers in the context)

The phrase "of seem" confuses me. Why the verb "seem" follows the preposition of. What the grammar of it? Is it normal?

Rephrased the sentence it could become correct:

They seem so helpless and frail

It seems that they are so helpless and frail

  • 1
    Can you provide a source and a context for this quote? It appears to be a mistake, but could serve some poetic purpose. – James K Jul 9 '18 at 7:06
  • It has been discussed here and they all say, 'typo' – Maulik V Jul 9 '18 at 8:03

This is from the Wizard of Oz, and does appear in printed versions of the book. (From the section with the hypnotic poppies)

It is not standard English, and although it comes from quote speech by the Lion, is not consistent with how the Lion usually talks.

This is most likely an error introduced by a printer, and not caught in the proofreading process. My guess would be that the Lion is actually saying "They oft seem so helpless and frail". The word "oft" is an old-fashioned way of saying "often", and this would fit with the lion's slightly Quixotic character


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