English school children used to be taught not to use a preposition to end a sentence with. I’m sorry, that should be not to use a preposition with which to end a sentence.

As you can see, these days this seems a little awkward and stilted. In fact, even the famous Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, is supposed to have said of this rule, which he thought stupid: ‘This is the sort of nonsense up with which I will not put’!

In fact, we frequently end sentences with prepositions. The English humourist and noted egg-head, Stephen Fry, contributed a sentence that ends with seven consecutive prepositions: “You must imagine a young child whose mother has gone down stairs to find a book for the bedtime story. She comes up with a volume about Australia. The child cannot understand such a monstrous choice. ‘Mother, what on earth did you bring a book to read out of about Down Under up for?’”

 8th September 2014 /    Alice /   Education, Language & Grammar

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