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Ending a sentence with a preposition

Discussion in 'Polski (Polish)' started by dreamlike, Nov 8, 2012.

  1. dreamlike

    dreamlike Senior Member

    Poland
    Polish
    *** Mod's note: This thread was split from / Temat rozdzielił się w: Click! ***



    Why would anyone consider ending a sentence with the word "to" or "for" incorrect? That's the first time I hear about it.

    As for the point made by Liliana, yes, "for" seems to be fairly common in BrE.
     
  2. DearPrudence

    DearPrudence Dépêche Mod

    IdF
    French (lower Normandy)
    This is getting off topic, but yes, it used to be considered incorrect even though perfectly acceptable nowadays.
    An example here:
     
  3. radosna Senior Member

    Poland
    English- USA
    DearPrudence's response was indeed the grammatical rule I was referring to: not ending a sentence with a preposition. I'm not so sure I would say it's "perfectly acceptable" nowadays nor would I agree that it's "not suited for modern English usage." I would agree that we are definitely much more relaxed about it, however. Most native English speakers (including myself) commonly end sentences with prepositions. However, I am one who tries to avoid ending with a preposition in a formal piece of writing. All languages, including Polish, have variances between spoken & written language. Spoken language is always much more flexible. English is no exception to this generality.

    If you read the full article DearPrudence chose an excerpt from, you'll also read that this topic remains debatable & controversial. Overall, my personal stance is in agreement with the author's view: know your audience. The wonderful thing about having command of a language is that you can vary not only your word choice but also your stylistic choice.

    As for the use of "to" or "for", I'm not 100% convinced a Brit would use "for" in this situation. Yes, I'm a native AE speaker but I'm also one who's had a lot of exposure to BE. Could we hear from a native BE speaker if there's one reading this? (My pride level is not so high that I'm unwilling to be corrected! :))



     
  4. Szkot Senior Member

    Edinburgh
    UK English
    Surely it depends on what you are doing. Are you the throwing the stick towards the dog, for it to catch in mid-air, or are you throwing it away from the dog, for it to run after and retrieve? I would say the former is to, the latter for.
     
  5. dreamlike

    dreamlike Senior Member

    Poland
    Polish
    Yes, this is not directly related to the topic but thank you, DearPrudence and Radosna, I'll read up on it. I must say it comes as a great surprise to me to learn that it's not considered good style and is best avoided in formal pieces of writing... I tend to end sentences with prepositions very often, be it in a casual conversation or in formal writing, and sometimes it seems to me there's simply no other way of saying a given thing.
     
  6. LilianaB Senior Member

    US New York
    Lithuanian
    Well, I never heard it either. People often say: because I want to, I will have someon to talk to on the way to work, the world you live in, who are you looking after, etc. . I have personally never noticed that they have not been used this way by prestigious newspapers, for example. I have not paid too much attention to that, to tell you the truth, but I will check the New York Times, if they use them at the end of sentences from time to time. I am pretty sure they do sometimes.
     
  7. dreamlike

    dreamlike Senior Member

    Poland
    Polish
    I think it could even be fit to be used in formal pieces of writing. Let's take the following sentence:

    The probem can be easily dealt with.

    It surely ends with a preposition, but is otherwise a very formal sentence.
     
  8. Szkot Senior Member

    Edinburgh
    UK English
    I was taught this 'rule', and to some extent it does still hold good in formal writing, although not invariably. (It's a bit like split infinitives.) Stylistically it is desirable to avoid unduly separating the preposition from its antecedent, but equally you should avoid contorsions to avoid a final preposition. This is perhaps the point which this off-topic discussion should come to an end at. (Or, as I would write, at which)
     
  9. LilianaB Senior Member

    US New York
    Lithuanian
    It may really depend on the expression, because phrases like I want to, I would love to, I'd be glad to, are hard to imagine constructed any other way, really. Some expressions with prepositions at the end may have acquired the status of idioms in fact. This discussion is related to the original subject, because Baltic wanted to know if a sentence with a preposition at the end was correct.
     
  10. ewie

    ewie Senior Member

    This septic isle!
    NW Englandish English
    The 'rule' is still 'controversial' only because there are still a lot of people around old enough to have had it drummed into them to such an extent that they feel it is some kind of Gospel Truth handed down by Moses (or God, or Someone Else), when in fact it was just something dreamt up by 18th-century grammarians who wanted English to behave like Latin despite the fact that English is nothing like Latin.
     
  11. dreamlike

    dreamlike Senior Member

    Poland
    Polish
    Well now that the thread has been split, I think we're all free to comment on this rule. Whatever the motivation of the people who invented it was, it doesn't really make much sense to me. Even from a stylistic point of view, I see nothing wrong with it. I'd even go so far as to say it sounds stylish, at least to me.
     
  12. dreamlike

    dreamlike Senior Member

    Poland
    Polish
    It has just occurred to me, doesn't this thread belong to the English-English forum?
     

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