Ending Sentences with Prepositions

Time and time and time again I have seen people who want very much to be perceived as grammatically superior harp on the fact that someone has ended a sentence with a preposition. Even spell check does it. The very sad thing about this behavior is that in fact there’s nothing wrong with doing so in most cases. Any expert in grammar will tell you so. Here’s a quick and dirty rule of thumb:

If restructuring a sentence to avoid ending it with a preposition makes it sound awkward or as if it had been written in the Middle Ages, don’t do it. For example, “Welcome aboard” is perfectly fine. You could also say, “Aboard you are welcome”, but you’d sound like Yoda or a total pompous ass.

On the other hand, there are a few cases where ending a sentence with a preposition will make you sound ignorant. If you can simply leave a preposition off and the sentence still makes sense, by all means, leave it off. (Off you should leave it? Ick. No.) For example, “I don’t know where it’s at.” Drop the “at” and what you get is, “I don’t know where it is.” Simple. Elegant.

So the next time someone arrogantly points out that you’ve just ended a sentence with a preposition, make sure your sentence passed the two tests above, and if it has, tell them that off is where they should f***.


[Image credit: quickmeme.com]

Author: The View from a Drawbridge

I have been a bridgetender since 2001, and gives me plenty of time to think and observe the world.

5 thoughts on “Ending Sentences with Prepositions”

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