Grammar Tips > 5 supposed grammar rules to boldly ignore > Ending a sentence with a preposition

Ending a sentence with a preposition

The "Rule": Never ever ever do it.

The Reality: The whole thing was probably based on Latin grammar.

Prepositions, those pesky little words like "at," "by," "with," and "from," absolutely should not be used to end a sentence, right? Wrong.

Here's why

You see, 16th-century poet John Dryden first promoted the doctrine that a preposition may not be used at the end of a sentence, but it was probably based on an incorrect analogy to Latin.

Grammarians in the 1700s refined the doctrine, and the rule became yet another venerated maxim of schoolroom grammar. In recent years, however, there has been some retreat from this position.

The American Heritage Dictionary points out that English syntax not only allows but sometimes even requires final placement of the preposition, as in "We have much to be thankful for" and "That depends on what you believe in."

Efforts to rewrite such sentences to place the preposition elsewhere can have stilted and even comical results, as is demonstrated in the saying (often attributed, probably falsely, to Winston Churchill), "This is the kind of pedantic nonsense up with which I will not put."

Can you bring yourself to end a sentence with a preposition, or is it a rule up with which you just can't give?

Complete English Grammar Rules is available for purchase as Paperback and Kindle eBook.
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