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Ending a Sentence With a Preposition

Is it ever OK to end a sentence with a preposition?

By
Mignon Fogarty
Episode #269

Cover Letter Grammar

I said you don’t need to rewrite those sentences, but because of the prevalent myth that it’s wrong to end sentences with prepositions, there are times when you should avoid doing it even though it isn’t wrong. For example, when you’re writing a cover letter to a potential employer, don’t end a sentence with a preposition. The person reading the letter could see it as an error. I always recommend following the most conservative grammar rules in job applications. I’d rather be hired than lose out on an opportunity because my grammar was correct--but perceived as wrong.

But once you're hired and you’re in a position to have a discussion about grammar, don’t be afraid to end sentences with prepositions as long as the preposition isn’t unnecessary. Just be ready to show your boss a good style guide or this Web page and do your part to dispel one of the top ten grammar myths.  

References

  1. Huddleston, R. and Pullman, G.K. A Student's Introduction to English Grammar. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006, p. 20, 137-8.
  2. Strumpf, M. and Douglas, A. The Grammar Bible. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2004,  p. 231, 217.
  3. Thurman, S. The Only Grammar Book You'll Ever Need. Avon: Adams Media, 2003, p.32.
  4. Stilman, A. Grammatically Correct. Cincinnati: Writer's Digest Books, 2004, p.264.
  5. O’Connor, P. “The Living Dead: Let Bygone Rules Be Gone” Grammarphobia.com, http://www.grammarphobia.com/grammar.html (accessed March 29, 2011).
  6. Lutz, G. and Stevenson, D. Grammar Desk Reference. Cincinnati: Writer's Digest Books, 2005, p. 41.
  7. Garner, B. Garner’s Modern American Usage. Oxford University Press, 2009, p. 654.
  8. Wilson, K. G. The Columbia Guide to Standard American English. New York: Columbia University Press, 1993, p. 341.

 

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About the Author

Mignon Fogarty

Mignon Fogarty is the founder of the Quick and Dirty Tips network and creator of Grammar Girl, which has been named one of Writer's Digest's 101 best websites for writers multiple times. The Grammar Girl podcast has also won Best Education Podcast multiple times in the Podcast Awards, and Mignon is an inductee in the Podcasting Hall of Fame. Mignon is the author of the New York Times best-seller "Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing" and six other books on writing. She has appeared as a guest on the "Oprah Winfrey Show" and the "Today Show" and has been featured in the New York Times, Business Week, the Washington Post, USA Today, CNN.com, and more. She was previously the chair of media entrepreneurship in the Reynolds School of Journalism in Reno, NV. She hates the phrase "grammar nazi" and loves the word "kerfuffle." She has a B.A. in English from the University of Washington in Seattle and an M.S. in biology from Stanford University. Mignon believes that learning is fun, and the vast rules of grammar are wonderful fodder for lifelong study. 

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