Alice   Monday, January 19, 2004, 03:20 GMT
I know, I know, I ended a sentence with "with". I did say that I made the occasional mistake. I officially feel totally goofy. :-)
Jim   Monday, January 19, 2004, 05:29 GMT
"This is the sort of English up with which I will not put." W. Churchill.

Alice, was it really a mistake to have ended a sentence with "with"? Here's what a couple of minutes browsing the net for info about the alleged rule came up with.

"We can blame an 18th-century English clergyman named Robert Lowth for this one. He wrote the first grammar book saying a preposition ... shouldn't go at the end of a sentence. This idea caught on, even though great literature from Chaucer to Shakespeare to Milton is bristling with sentences ending with prepositions."


"Rules should grow naturally from the language, rather than be imposed artificially."

"Good writers throughout the history of English--from Chaucer and Shakespeare to Alison Lurie and David Lodge--have not shrunk from ending clauses or sentences prepositions." Barbara Wallraff, Word Court

"Robert Lowth, an eighteenth century clergyman who wrote a grammar book. He made the rule up because that's the way it is in Latin! But it never belonged in the English language."


"NEVER ending a sentence with a preposition is NOT that important. In fact, it has no basis in English syntax. The rule (Never End a Sentence with a preposition) is a carry-over from the rules of Latin grammar.

"In other words, this rule has been imported from Latin into English with no valid reasoning behind its importation. Latin words have different endings showing their various cases and meanings depending on the role they play in a certain sentence. They can be moved around within a sentence without changing the meaning of that sentence. However, the one word that should not be placed at the end of a Latin sentence is a preposition. However, English does not work in the same way, and English words do not have the various endings as in Latin." Rick Walston, Ph.D.

"The doctrine that a preposition may not be used to end a sentence was first promulgated by Dryden, probably on the basis of a specious analogy to Latin, and was subsequently refined by the 18th-century grammarians. . . . In fact, English syntax allows and sometimes requires the final placement of the preposition." The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 3rd edition

"A second false rule prohibits putting a preposition at the end of a sentence, as if it had dropped its proper link at an earlier spot. Nothing, on the contrary, is more idiomatic in English than this practice of winding up a statement strongly with a preposition." Britannica Book of English Usage


"The problem is, English is not Latin, an insight lost on prescriptivists. "

Jim   Monday, January 19, 2004, 05:31 GMT
... or should I have written "Here's what up with which a couple of minutes browsing the net for info about the alleged rule came."?
Alice   Monday, January 19, 2004, 16:48 GMT
Jim -
Your post has made me smile. Just a few days ago, I watched as two of my freinds debated the validity of this rule, but neither had as much information as this. Very interesting.... However, I do think it is acceptable to end sentences, (even when keeping with the preposition rule), with expressions that happen to contain prepositions. One I was discussing recently was "come out", now if someone is exiting a buliding, I suppose you'd have to say "out he came", but if it's refering to coming out of the closet, it's perfectly acceptable to say "he came out". I think this logic would apply to expressions sush as "come up with", "put up with", and, dare I say it, perhaps even "begin with", (though as much as I'd like to vindicate myself, that last one is a bit suspect). What do you think?