Not ending sentences with prepositions is an antiquated rule of which we want to get rid.

20 May 2008


That was annoying, right?

I’m not normally one for change, but I am all for the evolution of grammar rules. We don’t all need to talk like our third-grade English teachers.

Most of the outdated rules have gone the way of the dinosaur, but there are a few stragglers. One in particular that keeps lingering is the rule against ending sentences with prepositions. The title of this blog post is an exaggeration of course, but even in other, more casual instances, writers still balk at sentences ending in prepositions.

In most instances, it can actually enhance your writing to go ahead and close with the preposition, especially in cases where you’re trying to sound less formal. Most of the time, by trying to avoid ending with a preposition, the sentence gets really convoluted and unnatural.

Let’s look at this familiar little adage:

There’s nowhere to go but up.

“Up” is a preposition, which means that every American textbook from the 1940s would decry it. So let’s try it this way:

Up is the only direction one can go.

Wow. If that had been the saying, it probably wouldn’t have stuck around long enough to become a cliché.

There’s just no reason to detract from your stellar sentence structure just to keep your old English teachers happy. Go ahead – try it out. Unless you’re writing in the most formal of tones – or if you’re writing for someone that might pick you apart for doing it – ending with prepositions can only take the level of your writing up.

The Writers For Hire, Inc. 
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