From the Gilmore Girls episode “Lorelai’s First Cotillion” (October 10, 2006). The ever-driven Paris Geller steps in to correct an SAT tutor who has told a tutee that “It’s a good sentence, but you want to make sure never to end with a preposition”:
“If she ended the sentence with a preposition, how could it have been a good sentence? It sounds like a terrible sentence.”Now that’s clever writing. Paris would do well to read Bryan Garner. From Garner’s Modern English Usage:
“Well, I just . . .”
“You were just coddling her. You wanna prop her up on your knee and burp her? Maybe buy her a pony? I’m not paying you to make her feel better about her incompetence. If she can’t construct a proper sentence, how is she gonna pass the essay section of the SAT?”
“Well . . .”
“That was rhetorical! Carry on.”
The spurious rule about not ending sentences with prepositions is a remnant of Latin grammar, in which a preposition was the one word that a writer could not end a sentence with. But Latin grammar should never straitjacket English grammar.Notice that Garner goes out of his way to violate the spurious rule. (He could have written “the one word that could not end a sentence.”) Also from GMEU:
Perfectly natural-sounding sentences end with prepositions, particularly when a verb with a preposition-particle appears at the end (as in follow up or ask for).And as in carry on.
You can also end a sentence with the word it. Don’t worry about it.
Related reading, via Pinboard
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