Ending Sentences with a Preposition

I have heard it said that sentences shouldn’t be ended with a preposition. I should write, “It is a pen with which I write,” and not, “It is a pen that I write with.” The Allyn & Bacon Guide to Writing (3rd ed.; eds. John D. Ramage, John C. Bean, and June Johnson; New York: Pearson, 2003) makes no mention of such a rule. The Chicago Manual of Style (15th ed.; Chicago: University of Chicago, 2003) does state that a preposition can end a sentence (§5.162). This manual states that a sentence ending in a preposition sounds more natural than a sentence constructed so as to avoid terminal prepositions, and such a rule was nothing more than “an ill-founded superstition” (§5.169). Grammar Girl agrees, but with a caveat:

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.

Do you end sentences with a preposition?

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