In recent years, I have often seen people (including some on this board) mention a quote that usually goes something like this: “That is something up with which you will have to put.” They then attribute this quote to Winston Churchill.
Here’s the thing: I’m almost absolutely certain that I first saw this “quote” many years ago in a book or essay on usage or style. The author was trying to make the point that there are times when one should not hew too closely to grammatical rules, and the sentence went something like this: “Imagine how absurd it would have sounded if Winston Churchill had said, ‘That is something up with which you will have to put.’” The idea being that Churchill was the last person on earth who would use such a construction in a speech – his justly acclaimed oratorical prowess depended on never sacrificing forcefulness for grammatical correctness.
Unfortunately, I have no idea of the source. I’ve looked through Strunk & White’s “Elements of Style” several times without finding it, and I can’t think of where else to look. Maybe one of William Safire’s columns? Anybody else remember this?
This site doesn’t include that as a misattributed quote.
However it does give some sources, which don’t prove Churchill actually said (or wrote) it:
“Up with which I will not put” (Apocryphal)
"This is the kind of tedious [sometimes "pedantic"] nonsense up with which I will not put!"
—Alleged marginal note by Churchill, 27 February 1944, to a priggish civil servant's memo objecting to the ending of a sentences with prepositions. The New York Timesversion reported that the Prime Minister underscored “up” heavily.
The source are a cable reports by The New York Times and Chicago Tribune, 28 February 1944. The Yale Book of Quotations quotes The Wall Street Journal of 30 September 1942 which in turn quoted an undated article in The Strand Magazine: "When a memorandum passed round a certain Government department, one young pedant scribbled a postscript drawing attention to the fact that the sentence ended with a preposition, which caused the original writer to circulate another memorandum complaining that the anonymous postscript was 'offensive impertinence, up with which I will not put.'"
Okay, if it was Churchill it was an example of his wit. The most common explanation goes that he’d asked for comments on (the content of) a draft speech he proposed to make, and got a copy back annotated with the “rule” against ending a sentence with a preposition – provoking his mockery of the rule in the quote in question.
However, there is absolutely no proof that Churchill actually said it. The earliest cite is an anonymous reference in The Strand magazine in 1942 – and since Churchill regularly wrote for the Strand for attirbution, if it had been him (he?), the editors would probably have said so. It was only after WWII ended that it began to be quoted regularly and attributed to him.
cites here and here, among many others available to the Googleista.
ETA: Damn you, glee!!