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Which is more correct:

Apropos of your earlier comment, I decided to....

or

Apropos your earlier comment, I decided to...

Actually, apropos is so fancy a word, even I, a word maven if I do say so myself, am not entirely sure when to use it. If I may add to my preposition question, are there any constructions where it would be appropriate to use something like with regard to and not apropos?

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3  
When is apropos apropos? –  nohat Apr 15 '11 at 0:08
    
I love describing unexpected events as "apropos of nothing". It sounds beautiful! –  Ste Jul 31 '12 at 10:42

4 Answers 4

up vote 10 down vote accepted

The answer to your either-or question is "yes". :)

In other words, apropos can be an adverb, adjective, or preposition on its own, or it can be used as part of the prepositional phrase apropos of.

Depending on how you want to use apropos, synonyms can include "by the way", "incidentally", "regarding", "concerning", "opportunely", or "appropriately".

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The 'a' in 'apropos' already includes the 'of'. The original French is "a propos" (and the "a" has an accent grave, which I can't find on my keyboard).

To me it sounds very strange to use "Apropos of Easter, have you bought eggs yet?", since I use "apropos" like "Speaking of Easter, have you bought eggs yet?", so the "of" is not required.

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7  
I'm not sure about that logic, since "à" doesn't really translate directly to "of"; moreover, the French phrase "à propos" does take "of" ("de") immediately after it (i.e. "à propos de"). In any case, the word "apropos" is not really transparent to English speakers, so even if it contained "de", I don't think it would be any more redundant than, say, "watch television" ("television" literally means "far-seeing"). –  Kosmonaut Apr 15 '11 at 0:14
    
@Kosmonaut: tele- is Greek for "far", visio is Latin for "seeing, image, vision". The redundancy is rather like looking at an image. Your point still stands, though. However, I don't think the average speaker's knowledge of French should necessarily be the norm for style gurus: if they perceive the redundancy as too obvious, you may find it advised against in style books, even if the average speaker has no idea. –  Cerberus Apr 15 '11 at 14:07
    
@Cerberus: My point is that none of this stuff is actually redundant. A style book that would take this kind of stance, based solely on this kind of logic, isn't really helping anyone. Nothing will go wrong if there are two acceptable options. –  Kosmonaut Apr 15 '11 at 14:55
    
@Kosmonaut: And I think your point stands, firm like a mighty tree, beautiful birds basking in the sunlight on its branches! I merely sought an excuse to babble about Greek and Latin some more, pending GL&U and LL&U, and threw in some prescriptivist ranting for good measure. –  Cerberus Apr 15 '11 at 15:16
    
@Cerberus: "...threw in some prescriptivist ranting for good measure." Do you also throw in firecrackers for good measure when you drop books off at the library? :) –  Kosmonaut Apr 15 '11 at 15:26

The only way I would use this word (to me it sounds a little pretentious) is in the phrase apropos of nothing, meaning 'incidentally' or 'without reference to the previous discussion'.

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The word apropos is used mostly in formal letters, where it takes the meaning “with reference”. I have hardly seen any written communication using this word now, except of course those old timers who correspond to newspapers in the column “Letters to the Editor”, especially in India. However I am an ardent user of this word in my official communication.

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protected by Jasper Loy Jul 31 '12 at 22:34

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