Who knew that you actually may end a sentence with a preposition?

I just learned this morning that one of my childhood grammar golden rules is no longer considered a rule. You can end a sentence with a preposition!!! My, oh my how I have spent minutes I can never get back trying to rephrase thoughts to reposition that pesky preposition. Freedom, finally!!!

Saw this sentence today and thought it fitting:

“This is the sort of English up with which I will not put!”

Does anyone else struggle with stuff like this, or am I alone on my grammar nazi island?

Personally this is one of the dumber rules in my opinion. I would be more than happy for it to go away.

I try to not end with a preposition, but sometimes it makes the sentence very painful (as the one you mentioned).

It depends on the setting. Official business writing, I try to follow the rule. Quick email to my boss, I may or may not. Emails to friends not as worried about it.

On here, I will re-consider my sentence, but if it is going to be one of those painful ones, I will just end in the preposition.

I do not recall which post, but I did end a recent sentence on here with at.

Finding out that I do not need two spaces after a period had no impact, as I am so used to hitting the space bar twice that it has not changed.

My daughter is an English major, I will ask her if she has heard that you can end sentences with a preposition.

Funny you should say that. I learned the two space rule back when I learned how to type. Then I learned like you that you don’t really need two spaces, but I can’t unlearn it. So, like you, I just do it as a matter of course and say to hell with it!!!

I’d be interested to hear what your daughter has to say.

It was never a rule. It was a “rule”. Put forth by repressed uptight grammarians who want the whole world to be like them. The same with the “rule” about to never split an infinitive. Horsehockey!

But there is a guideline (if not a rule) that paragraphs should not be only one sentence.

It’s a fake rule that almost never improves the sentence but no even remembers the rule correctly anyway. It’s clauses that aren’t supposed to be ended with prepositions.

Living up to your name no doubt!!! I don’t actually recall how I learned it (clauses or sentences). You’re probably right though and over the years, it got turned into sentences.

“I will not put up with this sort of English”

seems easy to me. :slight_smile:

It’s bedtime in the Smith household. Dad sends Johnny up to get ready and says, “I’ll bring up a book to read in a minute.”

As Johnny runs up the stairs, he says, “Please don’t bring Winnie the Pooh”, but his dad doesn’t hear him. Naturally, when he comes up, he grabs Winnie the Pooh.

When he opens the book and Johnny sees it, Johnny asks, “What did you bring that book that I didn’t to be read to out of up for?”

Sometimes ending with only one preposition just won’t cut it. :smiley:

This idiotic rule was based on the idea that a preposition must precede its object. There are two problem with this. First if the object is a relative or interrogative pronoun (which, who, that,…) then that word is generally, although not always, moved to the front of the sentence or clause. Second, just as there are intransitive and transitive verbs, so with prepositions. Only intransitive prepositions care called adverbs. That’s where my grammar is at.

A: Where’s it at?
B: Don’t end a sentence with a preposition.
A: Okay. Where’s it at, asshole!


I just talked to her (she had left French class and was heading to lunch).

She said no, that it is still a thing (at least in academic papers and such). That most normal people do not follow it. Then she explained why it was so, I am not an English major so I sort of zoned out while she was explaining it.

The main take away for me was I am actually impressed that my daughter knows her stuff. I kind of remember the “rules” but not really why they exist. So the fact that she can actually eloquently explain why the rule exists, was impressive to me.

As for the matter at hand, I will still probably re-write sentences for work stuff, but not worry about it for regular life.

I am a database analyst, it is amazing I can write an understandable sentence at all.

One wonders how those against preposition stranding would fix “You can wipe that smile off your face to start with”.

Well, a sentence is a clause, so a rule against ending clauses with prepositions (if it existed) would also imply that you can’t end sentences with prepositions.

But it’s not a rule, so it doesn’t matter. A lot of people misunderstand how grammar works. You don’t learn grammar from your elementary-school teachers (or at least, mostly not). You learn it from talking with other people. All your grammar teachers tell you are descriptions of the speech patterns that you’re already using. The real grammar rules, you don’t need to be told about to follow them, because the other way just sounds wrong.

Split infinitives make for a good example. You shouldn’t split infinitives, but you don’t need to know that, because you’d never do it anyway. What most people think are split infinitives aren’t actually, and are perfectly fine. For instance, take Just Asking Questions’ sentence “The same with the ‘rule’ about to never split an infinitive.”: “never split” is a perfectly valid verb, specifically, a compound verb composed of the simple verb “split” and the adverb “never”. And the infinitive form of that compound verb is “to never split”, so there’s no split infinitive there: The “to” is right next to the verb it goes with. An actual split infinitive would be something like “the same with the ‘rule’ to about never split an infinitive”. But nobody would ever say that, because it’s ungrammatical.

Another example of a grammatical rule which isn’t usually mentioned in classes is the order of adjectives. I might describe an object as “a big red rubber ball”. But it sounds all wrong to say “a rubber red big ball”. The fact that it sounds all wrong to say it that way means that there’s a grammatical rule against it. It’s a rule that’s more difficult to formulate, since there are many different categories of adjectives, but it’s a rule nonetheless.

Right, but not all ends of clauses are also ends of sentences. A person may miss stranded prepositions that are at the end of a clause but not the end of a sentence.

This is me, as well. PERIOD-SPACE-SPACE is ingrained in my muscle memory.

Interestingly enough, the board strips out the extra space when it displays the post but shows it in the editor if the post is quoted.

This is a sample sentence. One Space.
This is a sample sentence. Two Spaces.

I was an English major (and a copy editor for a spell), and ending sentences with prepositions was fine even back in the 90s. Same with the splitting infinitive nonsense.

The Chicago Manual of Style even calls it “a superstition.”

It is possible that there are cases where ending a sentence in a preposition is awkward or perhaps unclear, but there is nothing, as a general rule, wrong with it.

Is this a real question, or a joke I’m not familiar with?

Here’s a thread from a dozen years ago addressing this.

Even Fowler, considered a grammarian’s grammarian, way back in the 1920s said it was okay.


This was back almost 100 years ago!

ETA: And here’s The New York Times editors saying it’s a pile of bullshit, too:

And they go on to quote Fowler and some other grammarians. So this is not even a case where the descriptivists and prescriptivists disagree. Everyone agrees that there is no general rule in English to avoid putting prepositions at the end of a sentence.

Well, the ‘standard’ solution would be “You can wipe that smile off your face with which to start”. I have a hard time believing anyone would seriously recommend that. “To start with, you can wipe that smile off your face” is a superficial fix but I dare say, it betrays an ignorance of the point of the rule.