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Can You Start a Sentence with a Preposition?

When I posted the article Can You End a Sentence with a Preposition, I was surprised by how many people asked if you can start a sentence with a preposition. Here's the answer.

By
Mignon Fogarty
July 12, 2013

start a sentence with a preposition exampleMany people were taught that they shouldn't end a sentence with a preposition. Today, however, most language experts don't abide by this "rule"—it's often called a myth. (Read more at Ending a Sentence with a Preposition.)

However, after I posted the article about ending sentences with prepositions, I was surprised by how many people asked if it is OK to start a sentence with a preposition. I've never heard a rule forbidding that practice.

Prepositional Phrases at the Beginning of a Sentence

Prepositional phrases at the beginning of sentences are common and grammatically correct. Consider these examples:

  • On the other hand, Bobby likes strawberries.
  • After soccer, we go out for pizza.
  • By noon, all the runners should be finished.
  • Over spring break, Shondra broke up with Lance.

Commas After Prepositional Phrases at the Beginning of a Sentence

When you start a sentence with a prepositional phrase, it's usually a good idea to put a comma after it (as in the examples above). In general, the longer the prepositional phrase, the more you need the comma. For example, the Purdue Online Writing Lab says a comma is required after introductory prepositional phrases that are longer than four words.

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