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PREPOSITIONS. At used for a-; rejects a following adjective

At, when thus used in adverbial expressions, now rejects adjectives and genitives as interfering with adverbial brevity. Thus we can say "at freedom," but not

“At honest freedom.

“At ample view.

“At a mournful war.

“At heart's ease.

We say "at loose," but not

“Time . . . often at his very loose decides
That which long process could not arbitrate,

where "loose" means "loosing" or "parting."

So we say "aside," but not

“To hang my head all at one side.

We say "at the word," but, with the indefinite article, "in a word," not

“No, at a word, madam.

It is, perhaps, on account of this frequent use of at in terse adverbial phrases that it prefers monosyllables to dissyllables. Thus we have "at night" and "at noon," and sometimes "at eve" and "at morn," but rarely "at evening" or "at morning," except where "at morning" is conjoined with "at night," as in

“At morning and at night.

London was not so large as it now is when Shakespeare wrote

“Inquire at London.

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