Posted by: Jack Henry | June 22, 2016

Editor’s Corner: Oh, Yes You Can End a Sentence in a Preposition!

[Originally posted July 1, 2013]

Happy Monday, everyone. I hope you all enjoy this short work week. Kara is taking a well-deserved day off today. So I’m guest hosting with a brief discussion about whether or not it’s grammatically correct to end sentences with prepositions. I know! Riveting, right?

To begin, I should probably first provide, just to be clear, the definition of the word preposition.

According to Grammar Girl (, “prepositions create relationships between other words.” Some examples of prepositions are: about, at, beside, on, over,etc.

What’s the controversy?

While many of us believe that it’s wrong to end a sentence with a preposition, you may be surprised to learn that most grammarians disagree. Still, many people adhere to this mythical rule—mostly in written communication—which sometimes makes their writing stilted and draws attention to the writer and the style rather than the message.

So, what do you need to know to speak and write correctly?

Your goal should be to create simple, clear sentences. Sometimes trying not to end your sentence with a preposition leaves you with an awkward sentence. For example:

Instead of:
I am interested in the topic about which you wrote.

Say or write:
I am interested in the topic you wrote about.

While the word about is a preposition, it’s absolutely grammatically correct to use it to end a sentence. Remember, your primary goal should always be to be clear and easy to understand.

I would like to go on the record as saying that you, your families, your friends, and everyone else on the planet should avoid the phrase “Where are you at?” We hear it all the time, but in this case, the preposition at is not serving any purpose. Just say, “Where are you?”

And if you don’t want to take my word that it’s okay to end a sentence with a preposition, maybe you’ll listen to Winston Churchill:

Donna Bradley Burcher | Technical Editor | Symitar®

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  1. If clarity were the only objective, I’m sure far more egregious grammar would be acceptable.

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