Next Time You Hear This Writing Rule, Just Say “Kiss Off”
The Real Deal Behind this misunderstood “Writing Rule”
Here’s a rule pounded into the sponge-like brains of writers: never end a sentence with a preposition! (they’re yelling because they’re a know-it-all).
Don’t you love it when know-it-alls are wrong? I do, ‘cause it gives hope to those of us who know we know little.
Examples of preposition-ending sentences (from the Apple Dictionary):
Where do you come from?
She’s not a writer I’ve ever come across.
This is how we talk, right? So writing like this can’t be against the “laws” of grammar, right?
When challenged with this rule, one man of letters had the perfect comeback:
“This is the sort of English up with which I will not put.” — Winston Churchill
So where did this rule actually come from? Turns out, a perfectly well-meaning poet…
17th-century poet and dramatist John Dryden first said it’s a big no-no to put a preposition at the end of a sentence.
His reason was in Latin a preposition cannot come after the word it’s linked with. So, the same should be true of English. Right?
This rule fails to account for one important fact: English ain’t Latin!
Moving the preposition to the end often produces awkward writing.
Like instead of telling a know-it-all to “kiss off,” we’d have to say, “Be off with a kiss!” That just won’t work, folks.
What sounds stupid spoken, looks stupid written.
It’s a fact, Jack. Standard English accepts a preposition at the end of a sentence, which leads to more conversational writing (the secret of compelling copy, by the way).
Write how you speak, that’s the true victory for every writer:
Speak the true voice you were born with. (See what I did there?)