I’m not sure when, or from whom, I first learned this apparently incontrovertible truth, but it stuck with me throughout my graduate-school years. This notion is now demolished, and writers can occasionally use prepositions at the end of the sentence if necessary. Supposedly an editor had clumsily rearranged one of Churchill’s sentences to avoid ending it in a preposition, and the Prime Minister, very proud of his style, scribbled this note in reply: “This is the sort of English up with which I will not put.” The American Heritage Book of English Usage agrees. The preposition atop is missing an object all together. Both ‘put up with’ and ‘hard to come by’ are commonly accepted informal phrases, and it’s OK to end sentences with them. ~~~ and preferable to say ~~ That was as much of a shocker as any celebrity death of which I can think. That silly notion was promulgated centuries ago by people who thought "elegant" English should obey Latin rules of grammar. The only time you may wish to avoid ending a sentence with a preposition is when the verb is so far back that its relationship with the preposition becomes unclear. “Freedom From, Freedom To: Yes, You Can End a Sentence in a Preposition.” The New Republic, 17 May 2013, newrepublic.com/article/113187/grumpy-grammarian-dangling-preposition-myth. Business or academic writing In business or academic writing, try to avoid ending a sentence with a preposition. Ending a sentence with a preposition is a perfectly natural part of the structure of modern English. In the end, it all boils down to context. The problem with unnecessary prepositions doesn't happen just at the end of sentences either. . SHORT ANSWER: Yes, you can end a sentence with a preposition in English. So go forth and end sentences with prepositions, but only when it makes sense to do so. Ask Question Asked 5 years, 8 months ago. – Robusto Jan 27 '19 at 1:55 To simplify, prepositions are the glue that binds a sentence together. But if you’re writing a research paper or submitting a business proposal and you want to sound very formal, avoid ending sentences with prepositions. or so I thought. However, imposing rules of Latin grammar on English usage is nonsense. Your original sentences are fine. McWhorter, John. Here are examples: I would avoid showing him the letter. The idea that you shouldn’t end a sentence with a preposition is a carryover from Latin, kept alive by overeager critics of the written word. Both ‘put up with’ and ‘hard to come by’ are commonly accepted informal phrases, and it’s OK to end sentences with them. Here we have another myth, which I briefly mentioned in the section on prepositions: Never end a sentence or clause with a preposition. Of course, the latter is grammatically correct English, yet the former has a much wider use in spoken and, in some cases, written English that it has become the most accepted. Aim for writing that sounds natural rather than strained or affected and the placement of your prepositions will take care of itself. For all those people who spend time rewriting sentences ending with prepositions, here are three reasons why you should end a sentence with one. The issue with ending a sentence with a preposition is more a matter of style or rhetoric than grammar. Five excited puppies are almost too many to put up with. None of this might be relevant though. He walked down the street at a brisk pace, with his waistcoat buttoned against the cold and a jaunty top hat perched atop. Except here’s the thing: the corrected sentences above sound stupid. In fact, in some situations, you have to end a sentence with a preposition because there is no other choice. LONG ANSWER: Many native English speakers are taught that they should not end sentences with prepositions.This is a matter of style rather than grammar. Some so-called “rules” of grammar don’t hold up under careful scrutiny. Filed Under: A good plate of spaghetti should not be so hard to come by. Instead of saying “Squiggly jumped off of the dock,” it's better to say “Squiggly jumped off the dock.” Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Mike Cornelison, May 3, 2012. Such is the case with the oft-repeated statement “never end a sentence with a preposition.” In some cases a sentence-ending preposition is inappropriate because the preposition has no object: Where is my wallet at? So, to keep everyone happy, try to avoid ending … In this article, we will review, discuss, and clarify the rules on ending a sentence with a preposition. I was taught, in other words, not to dangle my prepositions—maybe you were, too. There are theories that the false rule originates with the early usage guides of Joshua Poole and John Dryden, who were trying to align the language with Latin, but there is no reason to suggest ending a sentence with a preposition is wrong. For example, a sentence ending with "put up" or "put up with" is not grammatically incorrect. You always have options, so you can always avoid ending with a preposition, but knowing when to do it requires experience and what we often call “a good ear.” Here’s an example. In formal writing, such as a thesis or a cover letter, many people avoid ending sentences with prepositions, as they believe this can lend an informal, conversational tone to writing. For example, “What building is he in?” … People often throw unneeded prepositions into the middle of sentences, and some people think that’s bad too (2). Please avoid the wet steps. And sometimes it may prove impossible “to get that preposition off the edge” (McWhorter). newrepublic.com/article/113187/grumpy-grammarian-dangling-preposition-myth. When criticized for ending a sentence with a preposition, he replied, That is the type of arrant pedantry up with which I shall not put. Examples Formal: These are the participants on whom the experiment was conducted. Ending a Sentence With Preposition: There was an old notion regarding preposition usage. The sentences below are correct. If you want proof, check out this list of references on ending a sentence with a preposition. Ending a sentence with a preposition is a perfectly normal and unremarkable thing to do in English. News flash: it doesn't and shouldn't. But you don't have to avoid ending a sentence with a preposition! Trying to rephrase a sentence such as “There is nothing to be afraid of” so that you can avoid ending it with a preposition will leave you with an alternative that is less than ideal: “There is nothing of which to be afraid” strikes one as too formal, too far removed from conventional language, even that of academic prose. But, not for all. When they’re the object of the sentence, you can omit the pronoun — but this often results in a dangling preposition. There’s no necessity to ban prepositions from the end of sentences. It’s unlikely that a native speaker would say or write them. A preposition is a word that connects a noun, pronoun, or phrase to another word or phrase as its complement. How to Avoid Ending a Sentence with a Preposition Option – 01 - Restructuring the Sentence Option – 02 - Using a Different Word Avoid Unnecessary Use of Prepositions Additional Examples Exercises: 1(A) and 1(B) Exercises: 2(A) and 2(B) Sample This: A Big Myth . Note, however, that you should avoid these phrases in formal writing. INCORRECT: I told the clerk his behavior was something I could not put up with. Luckily for those poor, persecuted prepositions, that just isn’t true. X Of the commitment they are taking on they must be convinced. Trying to rephrase a sentence such as “There is nothing to be afraid of” so that you can avoid ending it with a preposition will leave you with an alternative that is less than ideal: “There is nothing of which to be afraid” strikes one as too formal, too far removed from conventional language, even that of academic prose. Here’s the verdict: Both sentences are correct, at least for most people and even for most grammarians. Prepositions: A Quick Review. Grammar snobs love to tell anyone who will listen: You should NEVER end a sentence with a preposition! Ending sentences with prepositions is controversial to some. In these situations, my advice is to avoid ending a sentence with a preposition. Now, the practical answer: don’t do this. John went to town; John went to buy groceries. Writing, grammar, and communication tips for your inbox. Let’s try that again: Unless you’re a time traveler from another era, you’ll probably use the second sentence when speaking. However, it is still best to try to conform to this rule if it does not alter clarity, particularly in professional and academic writing. Comments are moderated and subject to terms of service. It said that using prepositions at the end of a sentence is wrong. The two rewrites I gave you sound stilted and awkward. In academic writing, professors tend to frown on prepositions at the end of sentences. He will avoid sending his dog out in the rain. She received her PhD in German studies from Rutgers University, where her dissertation focused on the function of framing devices in German realist literature. Somewhere along the line, I was taught not to end a sentence with a preposition. In this case, ending the sentence with the preposition is the best option. Sometimes it is correct to end a sentence with a preposition, but not always. Ending a sentence with a preposition is a perfectly natural part of the structure of modern English. In which journal was your article published? To paraphrase Manik Joshi in verbatim, “Using a preposition at the end of a sentence is not grammatically incorrect. Example: Yet the phony rule lives on as an illogical superstition throughout the English-speaking world. Otherwise, put the preposition wherever you like, including at the end of a sentence. Because most people believe it’s incorrect and will judge you accordingly. Ending a sentence with a proposition is usually acceptable during a casual conversation to help avoid confusion. Most would agree, for instance, that the sentence “That is the woman I told you about” sounds more natural than “That is the woman about whom I told you.” Sometimes prepositions are better left at the end of a sentence. Ending a sentence with a preposition. . In emails, text messages, and notes to friends, it’s perfectly fine. We invite you to comment on this post and exchange ideas with other site visitors. When, after defending my dissertation, I began working as a freelance copyeditor, I was surprised to discover that it was not only students who were falling prey to the occasional on or about at the end of their sentences. CORRECT: I told the clerk I could not tolerate his behavior. Note, however, that you should avoid these phrases in formal writing. Why? Avoid Awkward-Sounding Arrangements. As I eventually learned, however, the choice to end a sentence with a preposition is just that: a choice, not an error to be avoided at all costs. Which journal was your article published in? grammar, writing tips. However, the first sentence sounds much less natural than the second sentence. Scour the Internet for a hard-and-fast rule regarding the placement of prepositions and you will likely be met with a statement once (purportedly) made by Winston Churchill: “That is the type of arrant pedantry up with which I shall not put.” Whether Churchill actually said this is open to debate, but the point is crystal clear: sometimes making every possible effort to avoid a dangling preposition results in a sentence that sounds stilted or overworked. Also correct: A good plate of spaghetti should not be so hard to come by. There’s no necessity to ban prepositions from the end of sentences. Suppose you want to convey this idea: Silver Partners refused to join any venture Hooper was part of. They begin with relative pronouns (who, whom, that, which) and can function as the subject or object of a sentence. Informal language is generally accepted in conversation and will likely allow your conversation to flow more smoothly since your friends won’t be distracted by your perfectly precise sentence construction. Season’s Greetings or Seasons Greetings and 3 More Confusing Holiday Terms, Happy New Year, New Year’s, or New Years? Aim for writing that sounds natural rather than strained or affected and the placement of your … It would have been fine to ask, “What are you thinking?” Your e-mail address will not be published. How to Wish Someone Well in 2020, How to Write Right After You’ve Swiped Right, Why Grammar Matters in Your Content Marketing. If, in the process of avoiding ending a sentence with a preposition, the sentence begins to sound awkward, overly formal, or confusing, then it's acceptable to ignore the preposition rule. Active 5 years, 8 months ago. For example, in the sentence, “What are you thinking of?,” the preposition “of” is not necessary because it does not add meaning to the sentence. In all of these sentences avoid has a direct object. 1. You have been successfully subscribed to the Grammarly blog. While ending a sentence with a preposition, sometimes called a stranded preposition, isn't always correct, there are times when it would sound overly formal to try and avoid doing this. Susan Doose is an assistant editor at the MLA. If you’re writing for someone who loves to tsk-tsk about the decline and fall of proper English, avoid placing a preposition at the end of a sentence. As a teaching assistant, I found that the power of this injunction asserted itself time and again: the student essays I corrected bore the traces of my abiding belief that those who engage in proper academic writing do not—should not—dangle their prepositions. If you have a question for the MLA's editors, submit it to Ask the MLA! Actually, a sound rule would urge you to avoid ending sentences or clauses with prepositions in formal settings, as long as you don’t end up writing awkward sentences. In fact, it’s fine to end a sentence with a preposition, and most of us do it at some point. Consider the English: The chair which he sat on. Following the rule, we would write: That said, it is perfectly acceptable to end a sentence with a preposition – not least because the preposition is often part of a phrasal verb (e.g., "to blow up," "put up with," "go over"), and phrasal verbs have their own rules for where the integral prepositions are sited. A preposition should be placed before a noun or a pronoun. That sentence strikes me as succinct and forceful. Upon first glance, it may seem that some words at the end of a sentence are prepositions, when in fact they are parts of the verb. Sometimes, using preposition at the end of a sentence seems better than using it in the middle or beginning of a sentence.” Some words including on, … Ending a sentence with a preposition. Sometimes it is possible to rewrite the sentence without the preposition. Ending a sentence with a preposition such as "with," "of," and "to," is permissible in the English language. √ They must be convinced of the commitment they are taking on. Here are a few preposition guidelines: It’s not an error to end a sentence with a preposition, but it is a little less formal. Rules for Ending a Sentence With a Preposition . I’d advise against annoying your professor, unless you like getting your grade lowered. He walked down the street at a brisk pace, with his waistcoat buttoned against the cold and a jaunty top hat perched atop his stately head. The chair on which he sat. A2A After the word avoid there is no preposition. This rule was taken from Latin, and that is probably the rule that you were taught. Sentences that avoid terminal prepositions by using phrases like “to whom” and “for which” sound much more formal, so it’s perfectly acceptable to avoid ending sentences with prepositions in formal writing—as long as doing so doesn’t leave you sounding like Yoda. The writing of tenured professors reflected a similar imprudence . In these cases, "up" and "up with" are adverbial particles. Keep in mind, however, that not all grammatical elements should be dangled with abandon. Be the first to read new posts and updates about MLA style. Viewed 3k times 7. In reality, it is fine to end a sentence with a preposition, as long as the preposition is necessary to the meaning of the sentence. Is it really wrong to say ~~ That was as much of a shocker as any celebrity death I can think of. It is said we should avoid ending a sentence with a preposition. Prepositions, words that indicate relations between nouns, pronouns, and verbs (mostly small ones like for, in, of, on, to, and with but sometimes more substantial, as in the case of beneath or between), are often integral to a sentence, but writers can clutter sentences by being overly dependent on them.Here are five strategies for minimizing the number of prepositions you use: Before coming to the MLA, she worked as a freelance copyeditor, translator, and German-language teacher. Splitting relative clauses is one of the most common ways to end a sentence with a preposition. While it may be acceptable to dangle your prepositions, be wary of dangling your modifiers, an error that can be difficult to recognize and that needs to be fixed. If one of your readers thinks you can't end a sentence with a preposition and you have, then it's wrong in that reader's mind. 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To paraphrase Manik Joshi in verbatim, “ What building is he in? ” …,. Wherever how to avoid ending a sentence with a preposition like, including at the end of sentences object all together:... It makes sense to do so that silly notion was promulgated centuries ago by people thought. Sentences either problem with unnecessary prepositions does n't happen just at the.. But not always because there is no preposition also correct: a good plate how to avoid ending a sentence with a preposition spaghetti should not be hard! Following the rule that you should NEVER end a sentence is not incorrect! Sentence without the preposition atop is missing an object all together that preposition the.