You’ve been lied to. Here’s why you absolutely can end a sentence with a preposition.

You've been lied to. Here's why you absolutely can end a sentence with a preposition.

Grammar snobs love to tell anyone who will listen: You should NEVER end a sentence with a preposition! Luckily for those poor, persecuted prepositions, that just isn’t true. Here are a few preposition guidelines:

Don’t end a sentence with a preposition

1In formal writing

Which journal was your article published in? (Casual)
In which journal was your article published? (Formal)

It’s not an error to end a sentence with a preposition, but it is a little less formal. In emails, text messages, and notes to friends, it’s perfectly fine. But if you’re writing a research paper or submitting a business proposal and you want to sound very formal, avoid ending sentences with prepositions.

2If something is missing

He walked down the street at a brisk pace, with his waistcoat buttoned against the cold and a jaunty top hat perched atop.

The preposition atop is missing an object all together. Let’s try that again:

He walked down the street at a brisk pace, with his waistcoat buttoned against the cold and a jaunty top hat perched atop his stately head.

It’s ok to end a sentence with a preposition

1 In informal writing or conversation

To whom should I give a high five?
Who should I give a high five to?

Unless you’re a time traveler from another era, you’ll probably use the second sentence when speaking. Informal language is generally accepted in conversation and will likely allow your conversation to flow more smoothly since your friends won’t be distracted by your perfectly precise sentence construction.

2 If the preposition is part of an informal phrase

Five excited puppies are almost too many to put up with.

Also correct:

A good plate of spaghetti should not be so hard to come by.

Both ‘put up with’ and ‘hard to come by’ are commonly accepted informal phrases, and it’s OK to end sentences with them. Note, however, that you should avoid these phrases in formal writing.

Weekly Grammar Tips
Weekly Grammar Tips
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Comments
  • Pingback: ENA10 | Pearltrees()

  • gopadge

    Now this is a post that I agree with…

  • Manuel

    Thanks I’ve been looking for a post like this during a long-time. Finally, I’ve found it. Could you add some exercises to practice with?

  • Aedelred

    This is an aberration, up with which I will not put….

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