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It’s OK to End a Sentence with a Preposition

HERESY!

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Sound like Yoda you will if to not end sentences with prepositions you try.

No, it’s common sense.

My ex-boss may be surprised to see me say this because I used to argue stringently for “correct” grammar rules that dictate we must not end a sentence with a preposition. It was what I was always taught!

Then I got talking with a grammatically-inclined girlfriend who told me that actually, the no-preposition-at-end-of-sentence rule was an ancient attempt to make English grammar structure more closely resemble that of Latin. In fact, the rule doesn’t even take into consideration normal, everyday English usage!

Even the Oxford Dictionary Agrees!

Well, by that I mean the Oxford Dictionaries blog. This 2011 entry points out the futility in trying to avoid ending every sentence with a preposition.

Take, for example, the question:

“Who are you going to the prom with?”

To satisfy the no-preposition-ending rule, the question would have to be posed as:

“With whom are you going to the prom?”

Does anyone actually talk like that? No! Of course not!

Where to End a Sentence with a Preposition

According to the Oxford Dictionary blog, it is most appropriate, and even better English, to end a sentence with a preposition in the following cases:

  • A passive structure (I like being made a fuss of)
  • An infinitive structure (At my prom I had no one to dance with) — note: that’s not true, I had an awesome prom date.
  • Questions beginning with who, what, where, when, etc. (what city do you live in?)
  • A relative clause (that reminds me of the city I used to live in)

For more information about these types of clause, visit the Oxford Dictionary’s helpful Grammar A-Z resource.

Welcome to Grammar Freedom

If you’re like me and have tried to follow grammar rules, this news will come as a relief.

As my friend who first opened my eyes said, welcome to grammar freedom. Go forth and unabashedly end your sentences with prepositions! Do it!

Jane

The Brain In Jane works mainly in the rain. It's always raining somewhere. Find me on Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest.

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