Okay, the gloves are off!

I got a couple of comments on two of my recent posts, so I’m going to give my rebuttal, but in a friendly way. John writes that in regard to my post about ending a sentence with a preposition, that it’s widely accepted to end a sentence with a preposition.

That may be, John, but the Bartleby source you cited says that it is largely regional to add a preposition at the end of a question, (specifically, at).

When where is used to refer to the place at which an event or a situation is located, the use of at is widely regarded as regional or colloquial. So unless you want to convey the flavor of speech, write Where is the station not Where is the station at.

I think that the misuse of the preposition, unless it is intentional to idicate the flavor of the speaker’s voice,  makes the writer sound not only uneducated, but also ill-educated. This is only my opinion, though; I had the rule embedded in my mind at an early age so there is nothing you can say which will change my mind!

Regarding dangling prepositions, I stand unmoved; there is no need to say “the dog jumped off of the couch,” when you mean, “the dog jumped off the couch.” A dangling P, as it is called, simply adds pen or keystrokes for no purpose. It doesn’t change the meaning either way, and, as I already said, only adds legnth, which could become helpful if writing for a class or somewhere that there’s a minimum word-count you have to make before publication.

Thank you, John, for your comments. But I agree to disagree with you about the point of ending sentences (or questions, for that matter) with a preposition.

 How ’bout it?

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3 Comments on “Okay, the gloves are off!”

  1. John Says:

    As I said, some preposition stranding is standard English, and some is not.

    For instance, this stranded preposition is completely standard:
    What are you talking about?

    And this is non-standard:
    Where’s the station at?

    I just think it’s useful to distinguish between the two.

  2. dschinker Says:

    Grammar Girl has a great podcast that talks about this very issue! http://grammar.qdnow.com/2007/08/02/prepositions.aspx Unfortunately, she agrees with John that preposition stranding HAS become acceptable. However, she also cautions that people in some circle still feel that it is NOT acceptable, so you shouldn’t do it in formal situations like a cover letter for a job.

  3. John Says:

    The notion that it’s wrong to end a clause with a preposition originated with John Dryden in 1672. However, most usage commentators understand that there is nothing wron with it. Fowler called it a “cherished superstition”. Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of English Usage says “It would be pointless to worry about the few who believe it is a mistake.”


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