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carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b

What can you end a sentence with?

Saw this recently and thought of the grammar threads & heads here...


Merriam-Webster says you can end a sentence with a preposition.The internet goes off

https://www.npr.org/2024/02/27/1233663125/grammar-preposition-sentence-rule-myth-merriam-webster-dictionary


"..."It is permissible in English for a preposition to be what you end a sentence with," the dictionary publisher said in a post shared on Instagram last week. "The idea that it should be avoided came from writers who were trying to align the language with Latin, but there is no reason to suggest ending a sentence with a preposition is wrong."

Merriam-Webster had touched on a stubborn taboo — the practice of ending sentences with prepositions such as to, with, about, upon, for or of — that was drilled into many of us in grade school. The post ignited an emphatic debate in the comment section.

Many were adamant that a concluding preposition is lazy, or just sounded plain weird....

...Others heartily welcomed the permission granted....""

I'm fine with it - how about you?

Comments (58)

  • Lars
    last month

    It is acceptable in German to end with a preposition, and a lot of verbs has separable prefixes that would otherwise be prepositions (in some cases), and these prefixes always go at the end when the verb is separated.

    Many times in English it is just awkward to avoid ending a sentence with a preposition, and I have no problem with ending with a preposition when it makes sense. Not ending with a preposition seems like a very artificial and often inappropriate rule. I do avoid ending sentences with prepositions when it is easy to do, however. It often helps people know when to use "who" and "whom".

    carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b thanked Lars
  • colleenoz
    last month

    I have a podcast to which I listen ;-), whose narrator constantly misuses ”whom”. It drives me nuts.

    carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b thanked colleenoz
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  • nancy_in_venice_ca Sunset 24 z10
    last month

    What a shame Italian still tightly clings to its Latin roots — the phrases used to avoid ending a sentence with a preposition are numerous and confusing for an English speaker because they share key words and are easily mistaken for an adverbial phrase. Per il quale, etc.


    At least the three-vowel spelling has been modernized and pared down to two.

    carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b thanked nancy_in_venice_ca Sunset 24 z10
  • foodonastump
    last month
    last modified: last month

    It often helps people know when to use "who" and "whom".

    Yeah but can we get rid of the whom requirement when not attached to the preposition? I can’t offhand think if I’d always feel like that, but you’ll never catch me asking, “Whom are you talking to?”

    carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b thanked foodonastump
  • Gigi Johnson
    last month

    A preposition is the wrong thing to end a sentence with!

    carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b thanked Gigi Johnson
  • jrb451
    last month

    Where are you from?

    carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b thanked jrb451
  • maddielee
    last month

    Some kid, any kid: ”where’s it at?”


    My mom: ”Between the a and the t”.

    carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b thanked maddielee
  • palimpsest
    last month

    When "should of" started being used instead of "should've" in written form and I was told by an editor of a well-known publication that I was incorrect, that "should of" is what people were saying so that is what they were going to print, I pretty much gave up.

    (Sorry, but people are saying "should've" and it just sounds like "should of" in most speech)

    carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b thanked palimpsest
  • Annie Deighnaugh
    last month

    Well, I do know that a lot of sentences start with "Guilty!"

    ;)

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  • DLM2000-GW
    last month

    For you pal



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  • Jilly
    last month

    I think I can get used to this.

    Grammar sidenote: I’m a stickler for using the Oxford comma and that’s a hill I’ll die on. ;)

    carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b thanked Jilly
  • foodonastump
    last month

    Ah, the Oxford comma. I was taught without, so that’s my preference. I tend to overuse commas and then go back to remove as many as possible, so removing an Oxford is a freebee. 😉. But sometimes it’s more clear to use it, and you’re supposed to be consistent so it’s easier just to use it. And that’s generally what I do now. I don’t do any real writing anymore, so I’m just consistent within a given internet post and such!

    carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b thanked foodonastump
  • arcy_gw
    last month

    I've never understood this 'rule' for the rule's sake. There are prepositions that do not work at the end of sentence, other's well I just don't see the issue--in speech. On the flip side I know those that are obsessed with 'proper' and frankly their sentence structure sounds RIDICULOUS most of the time. I often want to say "Get over yourself and just state the issue plainly please!!". They sound like they didn't finish the sentence.

    carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b thanked arcy_gw
  • Jennifer Hogan
    last month
    last modified: last month

    I grew up in PA Dutch Country. Phrases like "Outen the lights once", "Throw me down the stairs the laundry", "Make the door shut", "Redd up your room once", "Quit your brutzin", "Quit roochin" "my plates all" "the dogs lutered with flees" "spread me some apple butter on bread once" sounded fine to me until I left our county. FYI "Once" (often pronounced with a t at the end won-st ) means "please".

    Preposition at the end of a sentence - not a problem.


    Two phrases that drive rub me the wrong way and I am likely to correct are:

    "Will you itch my back." - NO! I can't itch your back! and "I have and ideal!" - NO! You have an idea.

    carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b thanked Jennifer Hogan
  • sheesh
    last month

    Carolb, i think your question should be, ”With what can one end a sentence?” :-)

    carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b thanked sheesh
  • Lars
    last month

    <Yeah but can we get rid of the whom requirement when not attached to the preposition? I can’t offhand think if I’d always feel like that, but you’ll never catch me asking, “Whom are you talking to?” >

    NO. There is absolutely nothing wrong with using the correct word. "Whom" is NOT the subject of the sentence you quoted, and it takes very little intelligence to realize this. Everyone should have learned how to diagram sentences by the 3rd grade and therefore be able to recognize subjects and objects in clauses. To me, people who use incorrect pronouns sound uneducated, and it is okay to be uneducated, but if one is not uneducated, then deliberately using the wrong pronoun is just irritating and unnecessary.

    English grammar is extremely simple and should be easy enough for the vast majority of people to use correctly, especially compared to languages like Russian and German. However, a lot of people who only speak English do not realize how easy they have it.

    Incidentally, I always say "To whom are you speaking?" This is a case where not putting a preposition at the end is very helpful.

    carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b thanked Lars
  • Jennifer Hogan
    last month

    So when your SO is on the phone you ask "To whom are you speaking?"

    I'm more likely to say "Who are you talking to?"

    Yep - it is wrong, but I am just not that formal with my SO.

    carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b thanked Jennifer Hogan
  • carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b
    Original Author
    last month
    last modified: last month

    From the link (bolding by me):

    "...Merriam-Webster tells it like it is

    To be clear, dictionary publishers such as Merriam-Webster are not rulemakers nor rulebreakers. They just report how we already speak.

    "We tell you how language is used. Our goal is to tell the truth about words," says Peter Sokolowski, a lexicographer at Merriam-Webster who was not responsible for but backs the social media post.

    Those following the false belief often don't realize they're breaking their own rule, Jovin says.

    "People who say they never end in prepositions are actually mistaken," she says. "If you go and trail around after them with tape recorders, it's not what's happening."

    To hammer the point home, Merriam-Webster captioned its controversial post: "That's what we're talking about." Now, does that sound better than: "That's about what we are talking"?"

    And because they're required to have partners when away from their groups, when a kid asks permission to go to the bathroom or get a drink or water, I always ask 'with whom?', which often makes them do a double take 😄

  • Patriciae
    last month

    Years ago the word came down from on high that we could ditch whom all together. Since people do have such a problem with it I am surprised it is still used. I am not irritated when people use who instead of whom but it does grate on my ears when people use whom instead of who. I think people get in more trouble when they try to sound more posh.

    I rather like the flaunting of social mores, altered from the above fun statement. It has a nice air about it.

    carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b thanked Patriciae
  • raee_gw zone 5b-6a Ohio
    last month

    I just want people to stop saying that they are "bored of" something, instead of bored by. This one just makes my ears hurt!

    carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b thanked raee_gw zone 5b-6a Ohio
  • carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b
    Original Author
    last month

    Sorry to say I don't think that one's going away any time soon, raee...

  • foodonastump
    last month
    last modified: last month

    @Lars - I’d argue that it doesn’t take appreciably more or less ”intelligence” (actually, education) to evaluate subjects and objects on the fly, than to learn what a preposition is and not end a sentence with them. If you’re gonna allow one exception because it can sound awkward, why not another. I would literally never ask ”whom are you speaking to?” That sounds ridiculous. It’s ”to whom are you speaking” if spoken deliberately or formally, or ”who are you speaking to” more casually.

    I’ve definitely become less bothered by improper grammar as I’ve gotten older. It’s good to have a set of rules in order to set a baseline for effective communication, but as long as the communication remains effective I’m ok with breaking some of them. I have my pet peeves, but overall find picking on people’s grammar leans classist.

    carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b thanked foodonastump
  • carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b
    Original Author
    last month
    last modified: last month

    FWIW, I've worked for decades with children and teens, so I am very used to all the multitudes of ways language can be mangled 😄

    I do correct when a kid's using a wrong word or phrase, but I don't scold, I just inform.

  • rob333 (zone 7b)
    last month

    What does everyone think of this current generation's use of one space after a period?

    carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b thanked rob333 (zone 7b)
  • foodonastump
    last month

    It took a little adjustment but I’m fine with it, as it’s unnecessary since we switched from the fixed-width font of typewriters to computers.

    Reminds me of one poster who apparently hasn't gotten used to the fact that there's no need for carriage return anymore. I wonder if they EVER look back at their posts and ponder why they look so disjointed! 😂

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  • OllieJane
    last month
    last modified: last month

    I read about this a fews days ago! Ever so often, I get stuck-and nothing else sounds as good as ending with at or with.


    "What does everyone think of this current generation's use of one space after a period?"


    So, it's really a thing? I always thought it was a mistake when I saw it.

    carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b thanked OllieJane
  • carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b
    Original Author
    last month

    I always use only 1 space, but I've only ever really typed on a computer - not very much experience with typewriting, except for fun.

  • floraluk2
    last month
    last modified: last month

    I never learned to type, nor ever needed to do so, so I never learned any rules for spaces after a full stop. In fact I didn't know there were any. I went from handwriting to computers. I can't see that it matters one jot as long as the text is legible.


    carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b thanked floraluk2
  • bbstx
    last month

    One space after a period is fingernails on a chalk board to me.

    carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b thanked bbstx
  • Patriciae
    last month

    Because I was taught to type, though I am miserably bad at it, I still sometimes put in the double space but the auto correct takes one out. So weird when it first started happening.

    carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b thanked Patriciae
  • palisades_
    last month

    Can’t end a sentence with a preposition? What’s all that ruckus about?

    From the English Literature class back in high school days, I recall the Anglo-Saxon epic poem Beowulf has plenty of such usage. Prepositions spice up your pizza.

    carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b thanked palisades_
  • foodonastump
    last month

    Yeah Patricia - I think that was the final nail, when my second space kept getting deleted!

    carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b thanked foodonastump
  • Ally De
    last month

    I have never used a typewriter in my life. I learned on a computer. I have never even heard of this 2 spaces at the end of a sentence. I had to Google it. 😆


    Somehow I am doing ok only using one space. Wonders never cease!

    carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b thanked Ally De
  • foodonastump
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Hard for me to imagibe anyone born before about 1970 not having needed to type at some point in their education, on a typewriter, and yes knowing to doublespace!

    carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b thanked foodonastump
  • rob333 (zone 7b)
    last month
    last modified: last month

    It was the disappearing space for me that made me notice. It was so odd, I couldn't figure out what it was doing. Just a curiosity, not that it matters.

    carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b thanked rob333 (zone 7b)
  • bbstx
    last month

    FOAS, I never learned to type..or make coffee, even though my great-aunt told me that instead of law school, I should start as a secretary at a law firm and work my way up. 🙄

    carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b thanked bbstx
  • Jennifer Hogan
    last month
    last modified: last month

    foodonastump - My parents told me not to take typing or shorthand in high school unless I never wanted to be anything other than a secretary. '79

    carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b thanked Jennifer Hogan
  • foodonastump
    last month

    I never ”took” typing. But at a certain point typed work was preferred, if not required.

    carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b thanked foodonastump
  • rob333 (zone 7b)
    last month
    last modified: last month

    I typed more than one term paper, or essay, hunt and peck on a non-electric typewriter. It's what was provided to me. I can now type more than 95 words per minute. Keep pace with speech. And? We had to learn, we had to keep up. No classes here, and I didn't need them

    carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b thanked rob333 (zone 7b)
  • Elmer J Fudd
    last month
    last modified: last month

    A search brought me to several sources that said normal speaking speed is 140-150 words per minute so at 95 wpm, you're unlikely to keep up with anyone speaking. Other than someone speaking very slowly.

    When I was in high school, I had an open spot in my schedule for the next semester that I needed to fill. The required classes I was supposed to take were covered so I was free to choose anything. I decided to consider finding a class that might have a disproportionate presence of females. As males weren't allowed in Home Ec. classes (for some reason), it occurred to me that perhaps a typing class might be one I could take that would fill the bill.

    So I took a typing class. It more than met my primary objective, to allow me to meet and have dates with a number of girls I hadn't met before (it was a large high school). And, unexpectedly, learning to type at a reasonable speed turned out to be a useful skill for college papers.

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  • floraluk2
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Typing wasn't offered at my high school. I wrote university work by hand. I never needed to type at work until computers were commonplace. I had no idea there was a rule about spacing after a full stop.

    carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b thanked floraluk2
  • Lars
    last month
    last modified: last month

    I did take typing in the 9th grade, but it was rare for boys to do that in the rural school that I went to. I did it to avoid taking Vocational Agriculture (It was forbidden for boys to take Home Ec), and then I transferred to another high school in the city 10 miles from where I lived. Since I got my driver's license at 14, I was able to drive myself to high school.

    carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b thanked Lars
  • Ally De
    last month

    Same as Jennifer. I took science and math classes, the "business" track offered typing.

    carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b thanked Ally De
  • Jennifer Hogan
    last month

    My parents did support my wanting to take wood shop and metal shop and helped me argue my case with the school board. I already knew how to cook and sew, but I didn't know how to do the things they taught in wood shop or metal shop. I had to take home economics in 7th grade, but any girl who could test out of the second year home economics class was allowed to sign up for wood and metal shop. We had to have enough girls to have a segregated class (I think it was 15 girls). The classes were modified to fit what they thought was appropriate for girls to learn, so we learned basic woodworking for home and furniture repair in wood shop and basic plumbing in metal shop. I gained valuable skills that I used throughout my life in those two classes.


    I still had to learn typing and took a typing class after graduating from high school. PCs were just becoming common place in offices, but it was obvious that this was the wave of the future and not being able to type was going to be a hinderance.



    carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b thanked Jennifer Hogan
  • OllieJane
    last month
    last modified: last month

    I took a typing class in 10th grade. It definately helped in college and typing resumes, and even now on computers. My son use to always ask how I type so fast on the computer (all he knows). I'm really not that fast, just to him-it seemed so. Never was a secretary, only a receptionist a couple of times. I'm reallly good with a calculator-still.

    Someone mentioned Home Ec- hated it back then. I was awful at the sewing part. My best friend was really good and still is. She finished my dress-we all had to model what we picked to sew.

    carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b thanked OllieJane
  • Kswl
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Had to laugh at your meme, Bbstx. One of our employees used to pronounce the ”l” in salmon. I took them out to lunch once a month and she always ordered it and I cringed (inwardly) every time. I am old enough to remember when pronouncing the ”t” in often immediately categorized the speaker as “not quite.“

    It’s good (and necessary IMO) to maintain standards for written language, harder to maintain them for spoken language and often unkind to judge their lack. And obviously once standards have relaxed or are ignored by the majority that seems acceptable in print. I’ve long believed we will all someday be speaking what used to be known as pidgin English.

    carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b thanked Kswl
  • carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b
    Original Author
    last month

    Ha - I took typing in college and my wpm got worse 😄

    I think the noise of all the typewriters in the classroom was distracting to me.

    I type like my dad - 2-3 fingers, looking at the keyboard.

  • blfenton
    last month

    Typing - in my high school there were two streams for typing - one for those in Secretarial Skills and one for those headed for university. The university course worked on speed, referencing, bibliography, centering titles, table of contents, etc. That was in the late 60's and it was a really good course.

    In our high school girls weren;t allowed to take shop courses but I really wanted to take drafting, The counsellor said no, I petitioned to the principal and she said fine if the teacher allowed it. The teacher allowed it and there were three of us who signed up.

    My mom taught home ec (foods) from the mid-60's through to the mid-80's and she allowed boys in her classes and they were her favourite students.

    carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b thanked blfenton
  • Patriciae
    last month

    I was required to take typing in 9th grade as were all the students. The school was overseas and run by the military. Not only were we all pretty much expected to go to college it didn't occur to the overlords that men didn't need to know how to type since they did it in the military. My father knew how to type. The teacher was male. Boys had to take home-ec in 8th grade but not after. Girls werent allowed to take shop. My best friend and I did get into mechanical drawing because her father was an Admiral (the Admiral) and he supported us. The teacher ignored us.

    I was as bad at typing as it is possible to be. I could plod along safely enough but timed tests were a nightmare of mishmash. My fingers had a life of their own. To this day the only key I can hit with precision is the back key. I am thankful for spell check. I got a typewriter as a graduation gift. Why?

    carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b thanked Patriciae