I received an e-mail recently from reader Eric Edwards, 65, of Fishers, with a list of his grammar pet peeves.
I’m happy to say, my name wasn’t on his list.
What did make the cut, however, was one of the more persistent grammar misconceptions out there: ending sentences with a preposition.
This “rule” is a sort of grammar urban legend, like saying Bloody Mary three times in front of the mirror or the Pigman (What, you didn’t have a Pigman where you grew up?). It’s so prevalent, in fact, that even I have let myself be corrected on it from time to time, which, of course, breaks the first rule of being “that annoying grammar guy:” You’re never wrong.
Rule No. 2 is, if you are wrong, never admit it.
So here’s the big bombshell of the week: Go ahead and end your sentence with a preposition. It’s totally fine. And since I’m just some guy, here’s the Oxford English Dictionary to back me up: “There’s no necessity to ban prepositions from the end of sentences. Ending a sentence with a preposition is a perfectly natural part of the structure of modern English” (from OxfordDictionaries.com).
As the nice people at the Oxford Dictionary point out, the length sometimes required to avoid ending sentences with a preposition is going to turn you into Yoda. After all, it wasn’t “On Will Go My Heart” that took home an Academy Award for making audiences tear up during “Titanic,” and umpires don’t yell “Out he is!” That would just be silly.
So, the next time someone tries to correct you for ending a sentence with a preposition, just ask them where they learned that at. Then laugh at your irony and wit while they try to puzzle out what’s so funny.
And watch out for the Pigman.