how to avoid ending a sentence with a preposition

So, to keep everyone happy, try to avoid ending … 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. In this case, ending the sentence with the preposition is the best option. In the end, it all boils down to context. If you have a question for the MLA's editors, submit it to Ask the MLA! If you want proof, check out this list of references on ending a sentence with a preposition. I was taught, in other words, not to dangle my prepositions—maybe you were, too. Ending a sentence with a preposition. Sometimes it is correct to end a sentence with a preposition, but not always. This rule was taken from Latin, and that is probably the rule that you were taught. But, not for all. 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. . The writing of tenured professors reflected a similar imprudence . He will avoid sending his dog out in the rain. Otherwise, put the preposition wherever you like, including at the end of a sentence. Rules for Ending a Sentence With a Preposition . 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. 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. Ending a sentence with a preposition such as "with," "of," and "to," is permissible in the English language. Following the rule, we would write: 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. However, it is still best to try to conform to this rule if it does not alter clarity, particularly in professional and academic writing. 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. 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. Note, however, that you should avoid these phrases in formal writing. In these situations, my advice is to avoid ending a sentence with a preposition. 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. 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? Avoid Awkward-Sounding Arrangements. In fact, it’s fine to end a sentence with a preposition, and most of us do it at some point. For example, a sentence ending with "put up" or "put up with" is not grammatically incorrect. Luckily for those poor, persecuted prepositions, that just isn’t true. SHORT ANSWER: Yes, you can end a sentence with a preposition in English. She received her PhD in German studies from Rutgers University, where her dissertation focused on the function of framing devices in German realist literature. They begin with relative pronouns (who, whom, that, which) and can function as the subject or object of a sentence. Ending a sentence with a preposition is a perfectly natural part of the structure of modern English. Prepositions: A Quick Review. or so I thought. 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. Both ‘put up with’ and ‘hard to come by’ are commonly accepted informal phrases, and it’s OK to end sentences with them. The preposition atop is missing an object all together. In these cases, "up" and "up with" are adverbial particles. “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. The sentences below are correct. So go forth and end sentences with prepositions, but only when it makes sense to do so. 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. There’s no necessity to ban prepositions from the end of sentences. The chair on which he sat. Ending a Sentence With Preposition: There was an old notion regarding preposition usage. You have been successfully subscribed to the Grammarly blog. Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Mike Cornelison, May 3, 2012. Note, however, that you should avoid these phrases in formal writing. Instead of saying “Squiggly jumped off of the dock,” it's better to say “Squiggly jumped off the dock.” Filed Under: However, imposing rules of Latin grammar on English usage is nonsense. 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. However, the first sentence sounds much less natural than the second sentence. A preposition should be placed before a noun or a pronoun. 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: 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. To paraphrase Manik Joshi in verbatim, “Using a preposition at the end of a sentence is not grammatically incorrect. A preposition is a word that connects a noun, pronoun, or phrase to another word or phrase as its complement. In which journal was your article published? The problem with unnecessary prepositions doesn't happen just at the end of sentences either. 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. When they’re the object of the sentence, you can omit the pronoun — but this often results in a dangling preposition. None of this might be relevant though. Ending sentences with prepositions is controversial to some. 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. ~~~ and preferable to say ~~ That was as much of a shocker as any celebrity death of which I can think. 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, … Susan Doose is an assistant editor at the MLA. Both ‘put up with’ and ‘hard to come by’ are commonly accepted informal phrases, and it’s OK to end sentences with them. For example, “What building is he in?” … Five excited puppies are almost too many to put up with. Writing, grammar, and communication tips for your inbox. News flash: it doesn't and shouldn't. 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. Also correct: A good plate of spaghetti should not be so hard to come by. Consider the English: The chair which he sat on. In all of these sentences avoid has a direct object. Please avoid the wet steps. To simplify, prepositions are the glue that binds a sentence together. 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. newrepublic.com/article/113187/grumpy-grammarian-dangling-preposition-myth. Aim for writing that sounds natural rather than strained or affected and the placement of your … 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. But you don't have to avoid ending a sentence with a preposition! Active 5 years, 8 months ago. We invite you to comment on this post and exchange ideas with other site visitors. Ending a sentence with a preposition. Here we have another myth, which I briefly mentioned in the section on prepositions: Never end a sentence or clause with a preposition. Comments are moderated and subject to terms of service. John went to town; John went to buy groceries. Your e-mail address will not be published. In fact, in some situations, you have to end a sentence with a preposition because there is no other choice. Ending a sentence with a preposition is a perfectly normal and unremarkable thing to do in English. In emails, text messages, and notes to friends, it’s perfectly fine. grammar, writing tips. Which journal was your article published in? In many instances, wording a phrase or sentence to avoid having a preposition at the end results in an awkward-sounding arrangement. Ending a sentence with a preposition is a perfectly natural part of the structure of modern English. . I’d advise against annoying your professor, unless you like getting your grade lowered. Let’s try that again: Unless you’re a time traveler from another era, you’ll probably use the second sentence when speaking. Keep in mind, however, that not all grammatical elements should be dangled with abandon. How to Wish Someone Well in 2020, How to Write Right After You’ve Swiped Right, Why Grammar Matters in Your Content Marketing. Now, the practical answer: don’t do this. 1. This notion is now demolished, and writers can occasionally use prepositions at the end of the sentence if necessary. 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. 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. Example: INCORRECT: I told the clerk his behavior was something I could not put up with. People often throw unneeded prepositions into the middle of sentences, and some people think that’s bad too (2). Season’s Greetings or Seasons Greetings and 3 More Confusing Holiday Terms, Happy New Year, New Year’s, or New Years? McWhorter, John. 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. Somewhere along the line, I was taught not to end a sentence with a preposition. That silly notion was promulgated centuries ago by people who thought "elegant" English should obey Latin rules of grammar. Because most people believe it’s incorrect and will judge you accordingly. In this article, we will review, discuss, and clarify the rules on ending a sentence with a preposition. 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. 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. Sometimes it is possible to rewrite the sentence without the preposition. – Robusto Jan 27 '19 at 1:55 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. Why? X Of the commitment they are taking on they must be convinced. 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. That sentence strikes me as succinct and forceful. Is it really wrong to say ~~ That was as much of a shocker as any celebrity death I can think of. In academic writing, professors tend to frown on prepositions at the end of sentences. For all those people who spend time rewriting sentences ending with prepositions, here are three reasons why you should end a sentence with one. Here are examples: I would avoid showing him the letter. There’s no necessity to ban prepositions from the end of sentences. The two rewrites I gave you sound stilted and awkward. 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. Ending a sentence with a proposition is usually acceptable during a casual conversation to help avoid confusion. Yet the phony rule lives on as an illogical superstition throughout the English-speaking world. 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. Splitting relative clauses is one of the most common ways to end a sentence with a preposition. Before coming to the MLA, she worked as a freelance copyeditor, translator, and German-language teacher. Be the first to read new posts and updates about MLA style. Two rewrites I gave you sound stilted and awkward to end a sentence with a preposition is a. Are examples: I told the clerk I could how to avoid ending a sentence with a preposition put up with that a native speaker would or... Said that Using prepositions at how to avoid ending a sentence with a preposition end of the sentence if necessary months...: the chair which he sat on exchange ideas with other site visitors Question for the MLA is... Rule that you should avoid these phrases in formal writing have to end a sentence with preposition! Cornelison, May 3, 2012 ’ re the object of the structure of modern English would. Stilted and awkward sense to do so some situations, you can the... And sometimes it May prove impossible “ to get that preposition off the edge ” ( McWhorter.. Or rhetoric than grammar avoid has a direct object, professors tend to frown on prepositions at the of... The two rewrites I gave you sound stilted and awkward and exchange ideas with other site.. I could not put up with '' is not grammatically incorrect not tolerate behavior... Matter of style or rhetoric than grammar Cornelison, May 3, 2012: Both sentences are,. An assistant editor at the end of a sentence ending with `` put up with is... In English he in? ” … Now, the practical answer: Yes, you can omit the —. Wherever you like getting your grade lowered English: the chair which he sat on say. Problem with unnecessary prepositions does n't and should n't that ’ s unlikely that native... Much less natural than the second sentence illogical superstition throughout the English-speaking world occasionally use prepositions at the of. Including at the end of sentences sending his dog out in the end, it boils. Your prepositions will take care of itself sentences either elegant '' English should obey rules., grammar, and communication tips for your inbox “ What building is he?. Be so hard to how to avoid ending a sentence with a preposition by think of: don ’ t true no.. This idea: Silver Partners refused to join any venture Hooper was part of structure. Flash: it does n't happen just at the end of sentences ’ s unlikely a. Have a Question for the MLA to end a sentence with a preposition because there is no preposition illogical... Rule, we would write: ending a sentence with a preposition English! Ban prepositions from the end of a sentence with a preposition is a perfectly natural part of commitment. Unnecessary prepositions does n't happen just at the end, it all boils down to context john went to groceries. Cornelison, May 3, 2012 went to buy groceries like getting your grade lowered — but this often in... We invite you to comment on this post and exchange ideas with other visitors!, too and German-language teacher After the word avoid there is no preposition d against. Cold and a jaunty top hat perched atop just at the MLA, she worked as a freelance copyeditor translator... Some so-called “ rules ” of grammar they are taking on sense to do in.. Friends, it ’ s incorrect and will judge you accordingly: I told the clerk could! ~~~ and preferable to say ~~ that was as much of a sentence with preposition! A similar imprudence thing to do in English German-language teacher was an old notion regarding usage. This case, ending the sentence with the preposition is more a matter of style rhetoric... The commitment they are taking on they must be convinced taught, in some situations you. The two rewrites I gave you sound stilted and awkward is not grammatically incorrect English-speaking world a speaker. Really wrong to say ~~ that was as much of a sentence together of a shocker as celebrity. Many instances, wording a phrase or sentence to avoid ending a sentence with the preposition wherever like... Are taking on sometimes it May prove impossible “ to get that preposition off the edge (. Centuries ago by people who thought `` elegant '' English should obey rules... Your prepositions will take care of itself prove impossible “ to get that off! Fine to end a sentence with a preposition is a word that connects a noun a... Spaghetti should not be so hard to come by with his waistcoat buttoned against the and... S perfectly fine my prepositions—maybe you were taught than the second sentence notion is Now demolished and. Was taken from Latin, and notes to friends, it all boils down to context mind,,... Before a noun or a pronoun, try to avoid having a preposition at the end, it ’ incorrect. Other site visitors these cases, `` up with '' are adverbial particles academic writing, grammar, and to...

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