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Here is a quote by Jack Nicholson from the movie "Wolf":

Since it happened I feel as though the wolf passed something along to me.

I wonder why is along needed in that sentence? What difference does it make? How would the whole sentence sound without it?

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The verb is, essentially, "pass along", not "pass". – Alex Feinman Jul 16 '12 at 17:32
up vote 7 down vote accepted

When you say someone "passed something along", that normally means that there is a chain or line of "passing". Al passed it to Bob, then Bob passed it to Charlie, then Charlie passed it to Donna, etc. In that context you say, "he passed it along", i.e. along the chain.

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I would tend to agree. "Along" implies there is a movement along a chain. This would imply the wolf received something from something else. Not having seen the movie in the OQ, I don't know if there is such a context for it. – horatio Jul 13 '12 at 17:43
@horatio There is. – mikeY Jul 13 '12 at 19:26
@horatio: Just because Jay says "along" is associated with a chain doesn't imply the wolf gets something from elsewhere. In your case, it just implies that having acquired some "wolfishness" Nicolson's character might pass this on to others, or at least interact with others in a way that's influenced by this newly-acquired quality. But I would point out that although I don't have the movie, I've just looked at three different subtitle files, and they all agree he's saying on, not along. – FumbleFingers Jul 16 '12 at 1:42
@FumbleFingers - He definitely says "along", not "on". If you don't believe, I can upload that part of the movie on the "YouTube" for you to check. – brilliant Jul 16 '12 at 7:54
brilliant: 'on' or 'along' here is really part of a 'phrasal verb'. It's not acting as preposition, but it i not really modifying the verb, in some sense it is -part- of the verb. So not really an adverb either (don't worry about 'part of speech'). The words 'on' and 'along' are normally classified as prepositions so it is easiest to call them that @FumbleFingers is noting that discrepancy (calling them prepositions even though they may not function like that) by saying 'whatever it is!. – Mitch Jul 16 '12 at 13:50

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