I'm working on an essay and the first line of my introductory paragraph currently reads as:

Too many times, when sitting in an English classroom, have bitter groans departed the lips of around twenty students when Shakespeare’s name is mentioned.

This probably seems like a very facile question, but it's somewhat confusing to me; the main definition of "depart," according to the dictionary, is "to leave, typically in order to start a journey." However, when reading, the word is often formatted such so that "from" is put in front of it, right before the area of question–– i.e., "he departed from his home in Alsace." In this case, when referring to that definition, doesn't it translate to "he left from his home in Alsace"? Wouldn't "he departed his home in Alsace" ("he left his home in Alsace") be more suitable and also less wordy? Are both usages grammatically correct?

  • 1
    It's just one of the peculiarities of the language that you leave a place, but depart from it. – Kate Bunting Nov 18 '18 at 9:03
  • I don't understand what "research" close voters think the poster should have done. Whether to include "from" after "departed" is not something I would expect to be able to determine conclusively by consulting a general-reference resource. – Sven Yargs Dec 18 '19 at 18:08
  • Who sat in class? In your sentence, bitter groans were sitting in class. I think you mean "when I sat" or "sitting in an English classroom, I heard bitter groans from around..." Or just take out when sitting. Also, groans are throat sounds more than lip sounds. – Yosef Baskin Dec 18 '19 at 20:31
  • "The lips etc.," is a noun phrase acting adverbially - it is a complement rather than a direct object. "From the lips" is a prepositional phrase that also acts adverbially (also as a complement.) Similarities can be found in "I will see you [on] Sunday" and "He led her [on] a dance." and "I gave it [to] the police", etc. – Greybeard Apr 7 at 18:26

The expression "depart the lips" is grammatical. When talking about a literal or figurative journey, "depart" meaning "leave" can be followed by "from [starting point]", or "to [destination]" or simply [starting point].

  1. verb
    When something or someone departs from a place, they leave it and start a journey to another place.

Our tour departs from Heathrow Airport on 31 March and returns 16 April. [VERB + from]
In the morning Mr McDonald departed for Sydney. [VERB + for]
The coach departs Potsdam in the morning. [VERB noun]

Depart (Collins English Dictionary)

Collins also gives as American usage to "depart a job", and "flight 10 departs Chicago at 2 P.M.", and notes generally that when we die, we "depart this life".

  • Transitive 'depart'? Grammatical, but with a restricted number of acceptable DOs, and often a literary usage (depart their lips / this life). – Edwin Ashworth Dec 14 '19 at 16:31

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.