Yes, you can end a sentence with a preposition


Over the years, I’ve seen a lot of “most common grammar mistakes” lists on the internet. And, over the years, I’ve learned they’re almost always wrong. That is, in every published list of the grammar mistakes you’re supposedly making, there’s usually one or two that aren’t mistakes at all. It’s the author who’s mistaken.

But that experience didn’t prepare me for a post I came across recently on titled “18 Most Common Grammar Mistakes.” Though this list contained more than one bit of misguided advice, No. 9 stopped me in my tracks.

“Nine. Another common grammar mistake is ending a sentence with a preposition,” the author wrote. “A preposition, by its nature, indicates that another word will follow it. In casual conversation, this type of error is no big deal, but you should avoid this mistake in your writing.

For example: Incorrect: ‘What reason did he come here for?’ Correct: For what reason did he come here?’”

This just isn’t true. Never has been. It’s a superstition — one that’s been debunked over and over by every credible authority under the sun. In fact, this fake rule has been exposed so many times in recent years that I figured it was fading into memory. But nope. It persists. Here's my recent column explaining the underlying grammar concepts and why this supposed rule is wrong.

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