Ending Sentences With Prepositions

I’m often asked if it’s OK to end sentences with prepositions. The answer is definitely YES. The injunction against doing so comes originally from a Latin construction, but no reason exists not to end sentences with prepositions in English.

Someone recently asked me, “Would you write, ‘Where is the library at?'” Of course I wouldn’t. I would ask, “Where is the library?” That “at” serves no purpose because the word “where” is already asking for location. 

Would you ask, “Who was that person with whom I saw you?” I very much doubt it; instead, you’d rephrase the sentence to say, “Who was that person I saw you with.”  As  you can see, ending sentences with prepositions often makes sense, sounds more natural, and will keep you from sounding like a grammar pedant. 

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5 Comments

Filed under All things having to do with the English language

5 responses to “Ending Sentences With Prepositions

  1. It’s nice to get permission to do something I have always tried not to do!

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  2. Winston Churchill once said, apparently, “This is the kind of nonsense up with which I will (shall?) not put” when disagreeing that prepositions should not be seen at the ends of sentences.

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    • Churchill has had many witticisms attributed to him that he may Or may not have said. But whatever the source, this is a good one. (I also love his reputed nasty response to Nancy Astor when she (reputedly) told him that if he were her husband, she would poison his coffee: “Madam, if I were your husband, I’d drink it.”)

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