Anyone who has ever attended school in any country knows that there are certain grammar rules that you just simply don't break. In English-speaking countries, a few of these rules might be, always capitalized the first word in a sentence, use an apostrophe to connote possession, and never EVER end a sentence with a preposition! But what if I told you that ending a sentence with a preposition isn't always a bad thing?
For those of you who might not know, or remember what exactly a preposition is, in English grammar, it is "a word governing and usually preceding a noun or pronoun and expressing a relation to another word or element in the clause, as in 'the man on the platform' and 'she arrived after dinner.' The words on and after are prepositions." The anti-preposition rule is now considered more of a myth than anything.
it was in the 17th and 18th centuries that Latin grammar rules were applied to the English language. "In Latin, the word “preposition” translates roughly to the words for “before” and “to place.” However, in the years that followed, many have argued that trying to make English conform to Latin standards is not always practical and that the preposition rule should not be followed if it damages the integrity of the sentence. One famous example is Winston Churchill's declaration after someone criticized him for ending a sentence with a preposition: " This is the sort of English up with which I will not put." That does sound kind of weird, though, doesn't it?
Let me state here that if in your effort to not end your sentence with a preposition, the sentence begins to sound awkward, confusing, or too formal, it is now perfectly alright to end the sentence with a preposition. That said, do try to stick to the anti-preposition rule whenever possible. Example, "Which building is he in?" can just as easily be written (or said, "He is in which building?" See? There is often a pretty easy fix for the message or question you are trying to convey.
Here are the rules for which you may end your sentence with a preposition.
- When beginning a sentence with who, what, where,: “What area of research is she interested in?”
- Infinitive structures, or when the verb is left in its basic form (ie, “to swim,” “to contemplate”): “She had nothing to think about,” “He had no music to listen to.”
- Relative clauses, or a clause starting with the pronoun who, that, which, whose, where, or when: “She was excited about the responsibility that she was taking on.”
- Passive structures, or when the subject of a sentence is being acted upon by the verb, rather than doing the verb’s action: “She liked being sick because then she was taken care of.”
- Phrasal verbs, or verbs that consist of multiple words, including a preposition: “She needs to log on,” “When I was having a bad day, my sister told me to cheer up.”
I know that it may be hard for you getting back into the swing of your routine this morning. The good news is that there will be another holiday in about a month and then yet another holiday a week after that! The bad news is that you still have the whole week still in front of you. But I know you'll get through today just fine. I invite you all back here again tomorrow for another special blog by your humble friend, Irwin Q. Frog.