Problems with Prepositions
I hate, hate, HATE it when someone says “Where do you work at?” or “We’ll meet you where you are at!” Ending a sentence with a preposition, I have always thought, is a big no-no. However, it sounds rather strange when I ask my dog, “At what are you barking?”
I have been getting Jane Straus’s (I’m not completely sure about the apostrophe placement, here) e-newsletter about grammar and punctuation for quite some time, but today’s tip is truly a nugget of wisdom:
Prepositions are words that often show direction: below, above, over, under, around, through, in, out, between, among, to, toward(s). Other common prepositions include of, for (also sometimes a conjunction), from, with, like (also sometimes a verb).
Rule: You shouldn’t use or end a sentence with an unnecessary preposition, i.e., when the meaning is clear without it. Sentences may end with necessary prepositions.
Correct: That is something I cannot agree with.
With is a necessary preposition.
Correct: How many of you can I count on?
On is necessary.
Incorrect: Where did he go to?
Correct: Where did he go?
To is unnecessary because the meaning is clear without it.
Rule: Don’t follow like with a subject and verb because prepositions are followed only by nouns that act as the object of the preposition. Use as or as if or as though instead of like when a subject and verb follow.
Correct: I wish I could be more like her.
Incorrect: It doesn’t look like she will show up for dinner.
Correct: It doesn’t look as if (or as though) she will show up for dinner.
So, please, don’t end your sentences or questions with a preposition — but if you do, make sure it is NECESSARY.
How ’bout it?