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  1. #1
    Anonymous Guest

    Default Preposition ending a sentence

    Hello,

    My question is whether a preposition can end a sentence. For example,

    The following indicators for monitoring were agreed to:

    And then I have a lists of things.

    Thank you in advance

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default

    The definition of a preposition is that it connects words or phrases, so some say it shouldn't come at the end of a sentence because it isn't connecting. However, when prepositions are found at the end of the sentence, their function is normally different. If we say 'They had a fight, but they have since made up.', 'up' is not functioning as a preposition, but is mofifying the verb. Some call this a particle, but I prefer to think of it as an adverb modifying the verb (the OED follows this line).

    Therefore, there is nothing wrong IMO with using such a word at the end of the sentence because they generally aren't functioning as prepositions when they take end position.


  3. #3
    nyggus is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Preposition ending a sentence

    Quote Originally Posted by tdol
    The definition of a preposition is that it connects words or phrases, so some say it shouldn't come at the end of a sentence because it isn't connecting. However, when prepositions are found at the end of the sentence, their function is normally different. If we say 'They had a fight, but they have since made up.', 'up' is not functioning as a preposition, but is mofifying the verb. Some call this a particle, but I prefer to think of it as an adverb modifying the verb (the OED follows this line).
    Therefore, there is nothing wrong IMO with using such a word at the end of the sentence because they generally aren't functioning as prepositions when they take end position.
    Hi,
    And what about these sentences:
    "It is the only method the authors based in their interpretation on."
    "This is the phenomenon we are to infer about."
    Are they ok?

    Best,
    Nyggus

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    Default Re: Preposition ending a sentence

    It depends who you ask, Nyggus.

    Some people say you must never end a sentence with a preposition. You should always say: "It is the only method on which the authors based their interpretation" and "This is the phenomenon about which we are to infer" (although I'm not sure if "infer" is the right word here).

    Other people say that this "rule" was invented a few hundred years ago in order to make English grammar more like Latin grammar, and that this rule is wrong. They say that putting prepositions at the end of sentences is one of the things that makes English English, and we shouldn't try to use Latin grammar rules for English.

    Winston Churchill took the latter view: it is said that he once told somebody, "This is the kind of English up with which I will not put." However, he was exaggerating; as tdol would say, the sentence would be better written, "This is the kind of English with which I will not put up," although that doesn't sound much better to me.

    Personally, I share the view that it's OK to end a sentence with a preposition. However, because there are lots of people who insist on the rule, you should try not to end a sentence with a preposition, especially in formal writing, e.g. if you're applying for a job. Not everybody thinks it's OK to break this rule, but everyone agrees that "It is the only method on which..." and "This is the phenomenon about which..." is good English -- so be safe, and use this construction.

  5. #5
    nyggus is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Preposition ending a sentence

    Thanks, Rewboss, for your reply. I think you are right and I will try to avoid ending sentences with prepositions (although, without any reason, I like such sentenses).
    By the way, some time ago I read about this problem with Latin English grammar that you mentioned: the author (I don't remember his name, unfortunately, probably Roberts; it was the book entitled "Understanding English") claimed that guys that wrote down first rules of English grammar just translated Latin grammar without any adjusting to the English language. That's why we have to learn six tenses, although in English there are not six tenses. I am wondering what is a viewpoint of present-day language purists?

    Best,
    Nyggus

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    Default Re: Preposition ending a sentence

    In the case of prepositions, the culprit was a man called Robert Lowth, who lived in the 18th century and wrote a book called Short Introduction to English Grammar. This wasn't his normal job -- he was, in fact, the Bishop of London. That was the problem -- these people did linguistics as a hobby, not a profession.

    As for the tenses, I'm prepared to be a bit tolerant. Technically, there are only two tenses -- but we also have aspects and modes. I don't think it makes it easier to learn English if you talk about "the continuous aspect of the present tense" instead of "present continuous".

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    Default Re: Preposition ending a sentence

    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymous
    Hello,
    My question is whether a preposition can end a sentence. For example,
    The following indicators for monitoring were agreed to:
    And then I have a lists of things.
    Thank you in advance


    Not a problem.
    Churchill replied : This is a kind of nonsense up with which I will not put.

    Just checked online, and it seems I'm wrong: http://www.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/churchill.html

    But it seems OK to do it.

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