Then: 2007

We found this in an edition of Pegboard from as far back as 2007. These were deliberations of editors about prepositions at the end of sentences:

Do your hackles rise when you spot a preposition at the end of a sentence? What does this little rhyme by Morris Bishop do for you?

I lately lost a preposition,
It hid, I thought, beneath my chair.
And angrily I cried, “Perdition!
Up from out of in under there!”

Correctness is my vade mecum
And straggling phrases I abhor.
And yet I wondered: “What should he come
Up from out of in under for?”

(Thoughts on prepositions. PEGboard, 14(4), p. 3)


Now: 2024

Fast forward several years and the preposition at the end of a sentence remains a point of discussion. This is what we managed to find concerning more recent opinions on whether or not one can end a sentence with a preposition:

Scribbr. Yes, it’s fine to end a sentence with a preposition. The ‘rule’ against doing so is overwhelmingly rejected by modern style guides and language authorities and is based on the rules of Latin grammar, not English. Trying to avoid ending a sentence with a preposition often results in very unnatural phrasings.

Grammarly. [T]he truth is, under the right circumstances, ending a sentence with a preposition is not only acceptable – it’s the best option. However, there are times when it should be avoided; it’s just a matter of learning the rules.

Merriam-Webster. Ending a sentence with a preposition (such as with, of and to) is permissible in the English language. It seems that the idea that this should be avoided originated with writers Joshua Poole and John Dryden, who were trying to align the language with Latin, but there is no reason to suggest ending a sentence with a preposition is wrong. Nonetheless, the idea that it is a rule is still held by many.

The Guardian. Why shouldn’t we use prepositions to end sentences with? (Daniel Morgan, Boston, US)

Cartoon dog depicting various prepositions

And all of this from specific individuals:

Winston Churchill famously rubbished this grammatical convention by demonstrating the tortuous English which could result – ‘This is the sort of thing up with which I will not put.’ (Simon Blake, Shrewsbury, Shropshire)

There is absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t end a sentence with a preposition. This grammatical ‘rule’ is one of those snobbish conceits – like the ban on the split infinitive – which self-appointed experts have cruelly inflicted on the rest of us over the years. Sir Ernest Gowers calls this ‘rule’ a cherished superstition and observes that ‘the remarkable freedom enjoyed by English in putting its prepositions late … is an important element in the flexibility of the language. As ever, Gowers is the man to stick with. Or go by. Or look out for.’ (Howard Rose, Dublin, Ireland)

This is now permitted. However, I refer you to the story of the child who was fed up of her mum telling her bedtime stories about Australia saying ‘Oh, Mum! why did you bring that book that I didn’t want to be read to out of about Down Under up for?’ (Simon Gilman, London, UK)

The idea that we shouldn’t use prepositions to end sentences with makes no sense in English. Often we can use “which” for euphony but there are some cases where it is not possible – eg. ‘now you see what I have to put up with’ is clearly much better English than ‘now you see that with which I have to put up’ (“up” is not a preposition in this sentence).

A good example of a stylistic guideline that has got out of control. (Peadar Mac Con Aonaigh, Brixton, London, UK)

According to generative grammar, we can use prepositions to finish sentences. It is only wrong in formal English, and with the preposition whom, which has overt case. (Maria Arias, La Plata, Argentina)

No reason at all. When English was still thought of as a barbarous language (by the English), Latin and Greek, though both dead languages, were seen as the exemplars of ‘proper’ languages. Because they were highly inflected and fairly rigidly structured – so the preposition always went before – their structures were perceived as the models for ‘good’ English grammar. Apart from a general principle that it’s usually better to put things which belong together as close as possible to each other for clarity, there’s no real reason for prepositions not to end a sentence in English. This is especially the case with prepositional verbs: for example, ‘to put’ is not the same as ‘to put up’ – ‘up’ in this case is clearly part of the verb and must appear after the verb even if at the end of a sentence. (Lane Blume, Marrickville, Australia)

Because this is something up with which we should not put … (Mike Allen, Alvechurch, UK)

Whichever sounds better and makes enough sense to you and your listener. That’s REAL English grammar. (John Rymell, Stepney UK)

Just the sort of question many people keep coming out with … and I keep mulling over at. But then prepositions aren’t something to get put off about. They’re the mainstay of good idiomatic English – no matter where they are in the sentence. (Roy Marsh, Ipswich)

Many (if not most) of them are not prepositions at all but adverbial particles … (John Hatley, Niedernhausen Germany)



Caulfield, J 2023. Ending a sentence with a preposition: Examples and Tips. Scribbr.’s%20fine%20to%20end,results%20in%20very%20unnatural%20phrasings.

Ellis, M 2022 Can I end a sentence with a preposition? Grammarly.

Prepositions, ending a sentence with. Merriam-Webster, Grammar & Usage, Usage Notes.

Steynberg, M 2918 Prepositions. In The PEG guide to grammar and punctuation. Professional Editors’ Guild. pp. 51-56.

The Guardian, Notes & Queries, Semantic Enigmas.,5753,-7962,00.html

Thoughts on prepositions. 2007, November. PEGboard, 14(4), p. 3.


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In-text image: (4805918.jpg_pikisuperstar)

The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of PEG.

About Anne Denniston

Anne trained as a librarian but then started editing agricultural reports, loved it, and so became a freelance editor of all sorts of documents. For three years, she edited for students who attended Exactica’s dissertation courses. For more than 11 years, she edited audit reports (among other tasks) for the Gauteng Provincial Government.

About PEG

The Professional Editors’ Guild (PEG) is a non-profit company (NPC) in South Africa. Since moving to online activities in March 2020, PEG has been able to offer members across South Africa, and internationally, access to an extensive online webinar programme. Continuing professional development remains a key offering and the first PEG Accreditation Test was administered in August 2020 to benchmark excellence in the field of editing.