Is the phrase "stop with the auto-replies" or "stop with the memes" grammatically accurate?

Several dictionaries (Cambridge, Oxford, and Macmillan) seem to indicate that "with" is never used with the word "stop," but I'm fairly certain that I've heard the phrase once or twice, such as "stop with the whining."

To my mind, that could probably be rephrased as "stop whining" or "stop the whining," but both would convey a different meaning once changed, one being more of a command, and the other being ambiguous as to who is doing the whining. Or maybe I'm wrong...

  • 6
    I think it probably derives from New York/Yiddish influence. "Stop with the kvetching, already." comes to mind.
    – Cascabel
    Dec 9 '16 at 13:57
  • 4
    The expression may violate some P-ist rules, but it is idiomatic for informal speech.
    – Hot Licks
    Dec 9 '16 at 14:05
  • It doesn't get used much in the UK except by people who have been influenced by American speech forms. However in working class speech we do have the (usually parental) "Give over with the whining" or "Pack it in with your snivelling" which have an almost identical meaning. I have a feeling that they are more common in northern England that other areas but I'm prepared to be told differently.
    – BoldBen
    Dec 10 '16 at 9:21

The verb stop has many shades of meaning, but even with that of ceasing, the word licenses the preposition with and has long done so:

From Comedy of the Beaux Stratagem (1817) by George Farquhar et al.

If what I am now writing is destined to meet the eye of any reader, young and inexperienced in dramatic compositions, let such either stop with me, if curiosity can be controlled, or be prepared to admire the brilliancy of the dialogue without approving of the pinciples of the speakers in the following scenes.

That is, let the young and inexperienced be done with the author.

From The Legislatorial Trial of Her Majesty Caroline Amelia Elizabeth (1820):

The next day Luigi came to me with my wages, and told me, “As I was an honest man, I ought not to stop with thief takers any longer"

Here stop has the meaning of keeping companying or staying with, as in an overnight stopover. Interestingly, it doesn't mean to stop having to do with thieves, but to continue the association.

For a more modern usage, take a passage from Philosophy in Process (Vol 7, P 2, 1985) by Paul Weiss:

If we found that the white and black children did mirror the distribution of the whole population of children, we would stop with this.

For a loftier example, this from Three Lives (1909) by Gertrude Stein

“Don't you ever stop with your thinking long enough ever to have any feeling Jeff Campbell,” said Melanctha a little sadly.


It sounds idiomatic and down to earth to my ear. It sounds friendlier this way than it would without the "with." You can give it a little more punch if you want to, by adding "already":

Stop with the memes, already!


In this case, the preposition with provides context for the verb stop. The nature of context is pretty forgiving. Some examples:

Stop with my car! (something)

Stop with your feet in bounds. (state)

So technically, I would consider the statement grammatically correct. Grammatical accuracy is probably more of a dynamic state so technically, there could be and likely are more accurate ways to say it, but that does not necessarily mean it is not grammatically accurate.

  • 2
    “Stop with my car” is an utterly bizarre sentence. It means something like “use my car to stop”, and I can't think of any realistically likely situation where that might be uttered. “Stop with your feet in bounds” is a completely different kettle of fish: it's using with to indicate “an additional circumstance or condition” (ODO). The examples in the question have with as a pleonastic element that can be left out with no change in meaning: “stop with your whining!” = “stop your whining!”. Dec 9 '16 at 22:54
  • If someone were in your car and they were driving away without your permission, you might utter those words yourself. Dec 9 '16 at 22:58
  • 3
    I definitely wouldn't, though I suppose it's possible some people might. I would be much more likely to shout, “Oi! Stop! Get back here, you bastard, that's my car!”. Dec 9 '16 at 23:00

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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