Sort by, order by, filter by

Dutch authors have a big tendency to use the preposition “on” in phrases like these.

It’s just a literal translation of the equivalent Dutch phrases, which use op. A couple of examples:

  • Sort these events by date, earliest to most recent
  • The file should be ordered alphabetically by surname
  • Filter the column by error code to view the logs.

Quite a Dutch/Germanic thing – people with other mother tongues (French, Spanish, etc.) tend to get it right.

Prevalence: high. Turns up in IT-related material in particular.
Frequency: high. Literal and unthinking when in a hurry – we all do it.
Native: no. Minor slips like this with prepositions are a feature of non-native usage, whatever the language!

Published by Mike Wilkinson

Twenty years of translating and editing Dutch into English, as well as writing and publishing in English.

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