I have asked this question in ELL site, but there were not much reply, and so I decided to ask the same question here. Though I will change the question a little bit to exactly what I need more and to stop you from repeating the same answer that I already got from ELL site.

Here is the link for my question in ELL

Times Life tells you how to kick-start a party soccer style as the FIFA World Cup 2014, in Brazil, gets underway.
The Times of India

I understand the meaning of this sentence, but I was curious to know that why there was no in before the bold part of the quoted sentence.

One answer in ELL site suggests that soccer style is by itself acting as an adverb. Hence there is no need for any preposition. Fine with me, but I am wondering how to decide which compound words I will use as an adverb and which I won't.

  • I can just see the party participants flopping to the ground and writhing in simulated agony whenever they get brushed by someone...
    – Oldcat
    Jun 9, 2014 at 22:53

2 Answers 2


Regarding strict rules for when you can drop the preposition... I'm afraid there are none. Most of the time, though, both will be correct; as Edwin mentioned, it's a matter of register - in other words, how formally you're speaking. Dropping the preposition makes it more informal. The reason not dropping the preposition in the example you gave sounds cheesy is that it's a contrast between the very informal "soccer style" and the formal register.

I think that in most cases, either form (preposition and prepositionless) would be valid as long as they are right for the context (formal or informal respectively). I'm sure there are exceptions, but like so much of the English language, there are no rules I can give you for finding them; experience is unfortunately the only way.


Yes: in both versions

Times Life tells you how to kick-start a party in soccer style ...

Times Life tells you how to kick-start a party soccer style ...

the prepositional phrase or reduced prepositional phrase is an adverbial (modifying, ie adding to the detail conveyed by, the verb [kick-start]).

If a part of speech is felt necessary for the prepositionless 'soccer style', it must be (compound) adverb.

The prepositionless version is more punchy (in fact, the prepositional phrase version sounds rather cheesy in this example).

  • Thanks for replying, but how to decide which words can be used as adverbs like this one, and hence will go prepositionless? Jun 9, 2014 at 8:20
  • That would probably require a doctoral thesis. Or three. As is the case with a lot of areas of English, simplifying rules seem thin on the ground. Note that this preposition-drop is used in a chatty, modern register. And for an adverbial. cf He put it a nice way / in a nice way. Jun 9, 2014 at 8:24
  • Any docs discussing about this one? Jun 9, 2014 at 8:25
  • You might find the discussion in this thread useful, though it's not comprehensive. Jun 9, 2014 at 18:06
  • The only advice I can give is to listen for tone. "Kick-start a party soccer style" has three words or phrases that give away the tone -- "kick-start", "party", and "soccer style" -- fresh, hip, energetic, informal, a little bit wild. Jun 13, 2014 at 15:41

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.