Grammar Mishaps: Proper Use of Prepositions by Besthubs


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									                                                                                                                  20/09/2011 03:33
                                                                                                                         by maven101

                Grammar Mishaps: Proper Use of

                rate or flag this pageTweet                                  •   since
                                                                             •   through
                   Prepositions: Is it appropriate to                        •   throughout
                  use them at the end of a sentence?                         •   toward
                                                                             •   under

                    recently received an email asking if it is accep-        •   until
                    table nowadays to use a preposition at the end           •   up
                    of a sentence. Fellow Hubster wrote, «I know             •   upon
                it’s been ‘against the rules’, but following the rules       •   with
                often makes the sentence sound old-fashioned or              •   without
                overly formal.»                                              •   out of
                                                                             •   according to
                Let’s start of with some history, a definition, then         •   because of
                we’ll get to the question.                                   •   by way of
                                                                             •   in addition to
                                A bit of history                             •   in front of
                                                                             •   in place of
                In the 17th-century, a poet named John Dryden coi-           •   in regard to
                ned the rule that prepositions should not be used            •   in spite of
                at the end of a sentence. In the 18th-century, this          •   instead of
                doctrine became more refined; Now most students              •   on account of
                are taught this rule to not use a preposition at the
                end of a sentence. In some cases, the use of a prepo-                    Other Prepositions
                sition at the end of a sentence is needed and writers
                throughout history have broken this grammar rule.            •   above
                                                                             •   across
                The story is told that an editor once tried to reword        •   after
                a statement of Winston Churchill’s because it ended          •   against
                with a preposition. Churchill wrote to the newspaper         •   among
                with this reply, «This is the sort of English up with        •   at
                which I cannot put.                                          •   before
                                                                             •   behind
                                  A Definition                               •   below

                                                                             •   beneath
                Preposition: a word that precedes a pronoun or noun          •   beside
                and links the rest of a sentence; Prepositions are           •   between
                always paired with a pronoun or noun, also called            •   beyond
 Printed with

                an object of the preposition.                                •   by


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                                                                                                                 20/09/2011 03:33

                Grammar Mishaps: Proper Use of Prepositions

                   •   down                                                    LY CORRECT «On» is the preposition in this
                   •   during                                                  sentence. This sentence can be reworded,
                   •   except                                                  «On which team are you?» «On» is mo-
                   •   inside                                                  difying the object «team». Thus, it is gram-
                   •   into                                                    matically correct; when writing, I prefer
                   •   like                                                    and would advise the usage in the second
                   •   near                                                    sentence without the preposition at the
                   •   off                                                     end. When speaking, the later sounds a bit
                   •   out                                                     formal. You decide; I believe they are both
                   •   outside                                                 grammatically correct.
                   •   over                                                 •	 What	do	you	need	my	necklace	for?
                                                                               GRAMMATICALLY CORRECT «For» is the
                           Now to the question.....                            preposition. The sentence can be reworded,
                                                                               «For what do you need my necklace?» «For»
                Are prepositions at the end of a sentence gramma-              is modifying the object «necklace». Thus, it
                tically correct?                                               is grammatically correct. Again, you decide
                                                                               which sentence you prefer.
                The easiest way to know if your sentence is gram-
                matically correct is to reword the sentence with                   Prepositions vs. Adverbs
                all of the same words; if it makes sense then your
                sentence is fine. If you can’t reword the sentence,      This is where it can get a bit tricky. Prepositions
                then your preposition is probably not referring to       can sometimes act as adverbs. Look for these signs:
                an object. In writing I prefer to reword the sentence    prepositions require an object and adverbs do not.
                so that it doesn’t end in a preposition. This was how    Prepositions are always in a phrase and usually be-
                I was taught in school, and I just think it sounds       gin the phrase. (A phrase is a group of words that
                better without an ending preposition. However,           usually don’t contain a noun or verb. It is not a
                in spoken conversation the rewording may sound           sentence.)
                formal and may come off as a bit pompous. One
                final note, most people were taught not to end a         Adverbs answer: WHEN, WHERE, HOW, and TO
                sentence in a preposition; if you use a preposition      WHAT DEGREE about the verb
                at the end of your sentence, even if it is referring
                to an object earlier in the sentence, your audience      Prepositions answer: WHAT
                may think you are incorrect.
                For example:
                                                                            • James drew up a new design. «Up» is the
                   •	 Where	is	the	dog	at? UNGRAMMATICAL                      preposition linking James and the new de-
                      This cannot be rephrased to use the word                sign. The prepositional phrase is «up a new

                      «at» in the sentence. «At» does not have an             design» and the object is «new design».
                      object it is describing. The correct way to say       • James looked up. «Up» is an adverb here
                      this sentence, «Where is the dog,» or «My               describing the verb «looked».
                      dog is where»?
 Printed with

                   •	 Which	team	are	you	on? GRAMMATICAL-


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