Skip to main content

Did You Just End a Sentence With a Preposition?!

"The Story of English"

"The Story of English"

"I would think a State Columnist would know correct English, unless this was done to get people's attention. It sure got mine. The first sentence of the second paragraph, "Here's where we're at". Really...No sentence should end in a preposition. It should be, "Here's where we are". If it wasn't done on purpose, I would suggest Patrick go back to English Grammar 101 before he writes his next column."
— letter to Asheville (NC) Citizen-Times, 15 February 2016

Well, I am not that anal about grammar, or editing that I would change: "Here's where we're at" to "Here's where we are", just because someone is not happy with it. I am not here to please others, per say and that's not even a rule ("No sentence should end in a preposition").

The first option is more colloquial in my opinion and I would use it if that is the way I intended to make the tone of my writing sound. (I am a freak about how things "sound" and my writing is always shaped by that.) I would use the second option if I wished to sound more formal, also writing out "is" and not using the apostrophe.
Writing is a form of expression and I strive to express myself in such a way that others will easily understand what I am trying to communicate. I strive for clarity, always watching so that I make sure those reading are not misguided in any way.

With that in mind, I find editing one's work quite important. Since my high-school days, I have learned to edit my work and others' work in such a way, that I minimize the amount of punctuation mistakes, typos, or grammar slip-ups. And some may argue that a mistake here and there is not the end of the world, or that punctuation is not "that important".

I beg to differ. Punctuation not important?! How about:

"Jack! Off the horse!"

"Jack off the horse!"

No, we do not want to end-up in that situation!

Yesterday, I sat down and read a few articles from Hub-pages and of course, the slip-ups started appearing very soon after I began reading. Some are honest slip-ups indeed. While at other times, editing is needed to better formulate a sentence, in order for it to be clear. And at other times, as I will show an example, I have no idea what was happening when the wrong word was used.

To begin with, we have typos:

"He wanted 5 Black women to go back to the s- hole country the came from." - This person just missed adding the "y" on the "the" and now instead of a "they", we have a "the". We can still understand the sentence, as in we can decipher it but for me it's like a pot-hole in the road: clonk!

"But right now there are many kinds of atom." - And here is another pot-hole.

"Kinds" is plural thus, "atoms" should be plural as well. Again, we can understand the meaning of the thought presented but a little bit more editing and that sentence would have been indeed perfect.

"to make it better for us and those after us: our children, and our children's ,children's children." - A brick sticking out of a wall is what I see when I look at that last comma sitting between "childern's children". No comma needed there and one of the "children" is also not written properly.

Now, there are times (and I speak from experience here) when someone's English is not their first language and they struggle to translate in their mind from their language to English. Many times that process ends-up being messy. It has happened to me countless times and we get things of this sort:

"The source of ground water is river, drain pond, puddle, well etc. Rainwater is conserved only in these natural and artificial sources. Children and children know that if the rainwater does not stop, it flows into the ocean which is not useful to us in any way...Human beings are inattentive and greedy at the root of this problem"

I would have to re-write that above paragraph. The first sentence is grinding on my ears like a car driving with a missing wheel, screeching and shooting-out sparks.

The third sentence, I do not even know what to do with the "children and children" and the last sentence has issues as well. I would have to speak with the writer to get a better idea of what was being said in that entire paragraph. I am not going to go further into it.

Then, there are times when I have no clue what happened: "I am fine with two colons in what sentence in this case". Huh!? "what sentence"? Haha!! I allowed myself to get a good laugh on this one because that's my sentence. I wrote it in an email and when I re-read that email, I though: what was wrong with me?! Haha! I have no clue, other than that "what" and "one" sort of rhyme if You mumble them out.

Scroll to Continue

So, there You ahve it. Haha! I'm leaving that "ahve" it 'cause it's a good example how my fingers just fumbled with the keyboard right now. It happens. That's why editing is so very important. No, it does not "divide us apart" (could it divide us together?) to point-out a need for editing, as I saw someone comment not long ago. It makes us better! Don't we wish to be better? I do.

All the best to everyone!

Grammar Nazis


Mr. Happy (author) from Toronto, Canada on April 06, 2021:

And I learned about "gophers" too. Haha!! Thank You, Mrs. Arledge.

Typos are very frustrating for me and I try to do my best to eliminate them but they do have their ways in sneaking into a piece of writing, unseen. That's why editing is critical, in my opinion.

All the best to You!

Mr. Happy (author) from Toronto, Canada on April 06, 2021:

"the saying is not "per say," it's from Latin, and it's "per se." - You are indeed correct, Mrs. Elias. I did not use the Latin spelling as North Americans are not much into Latin, from what I gathered in my last couple of decades living here.

Thank You kindly for the visit and chat.


Mr. Happy (author) from Toronto, Canada on April 06, 2021:

Well, thank You for teaching me a new word: "stodgy". That's my opinion of Mr. Churchil anyway: stodgy/old-fashioned and stuffy. Haha!!

To be honest I never learned much English grammar. I learned Romanian, French and German grammar. English I more learned it by listening and reading. I didn't go to English grammar classes. Well, I did in Romania for one year but I never paid much attention, as I did not like English back then.

Thank You for the visit and comment, "(not 'Mrs'!) Ann".

All the best!

Ann Carr from SW England on April 06, 2021:

Absolutely right! I was always taught to never end a sentence with a preposition but there are times, as per Mr Churchill's response, that it sounds stodgy, pompous and disrupts the flow.

Yes, those for whom English is a second language deserve our encouragement and help (I'm a former EFL teacher). It must take great courage to write on HP or the like when someone is still learning. In contrast to that is the way some of our so called professional television presenters and journalists get it wrong - it makes me cringe. They are supposed to know what they're doing.

How complicated our language is! The most surprising thing is the vast difference in punctuation rules between American and British English! Variety is the spice of life, eh?

Ann (not 'Mrs'!)

BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on April 05, 2021:

I imagine the script was prewritten for him by one of his gophers.

Either's wrong.

Maybe it was a the one in your ending.

My fingers do this alot too. Especially on this mobile phone .

Liz Elias from Oakley, CA on April 05, 2021:

Although, I agree it can get taken to ridiculous extremes to be absolutely 100% correct. I recall a story of some journalist correcting Winston Churchill for ending a sentence with the word "with." Just to illustrate that he actually knew the correct structure, he replied, "This is the sort of arrant pedagogy up with which I shall not put." Yes, perfectly correct grammar, but awkward sounding.

Liz Elias from Oakley, CA on April 05, 2021:

Ending with "...where we're at" is so makes me want to say, "Just before the at!" Also, the saying is not "per say," it's from Latin, and it's "per se."

Mr. Happy (author) from Toronto, Canada on March 28, 2021:

Yup, I agree Mr. Bill: flow is important. Otherwise, it's like being in a car with a new driver who is trying to drive a standard car, resulting in a very jerky ride. Not fun.

Thanks for the Happy Sunday - it is. Cheers!

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on March 28, 2021:

I wonder how many times I have ended a sentence with a preposition? Countless time, I would guess, and I'm fine with it, I suppose. I'm more about voice and flow than I am about proper English. Having said that, completely ignoring proper English is a rat's nest I prefer not to visit. :)

Happy Sunday, my friend!

Related Articles