People who are prescriptive about English grammar often tell us that we shouldn't end sentences with prepositions. This 'rule' comes about because C18 grammarians thought that Latin was a superior language to which English should aspire. As prepositions did not come at the end of Latin they tried to enforce the practice in English, and the prejudice has stayed with many of us ever since. Winston Churchill, Britain's Prime Minister in World War II, ridiculed this by producing a sentence which would have felt considerably more natural if the two prepositions in his riposte had been allowed to come at the end:
'This is the sort of English up with which I will not put.'
Some people play games by trying to invent sentences with lots of prepositions at the end. Imagine the situation where a mother takes a book about Australia up to her young son's bedroom, to read from for his bedtime story. The boy doesn't want that book to read to him, and says angrily:
What did you bring that book I don't want to be read to from about Down Under up for?"
Is this sentence a cheat? Is 'Down Under' a pair of prepositions or a proper name? Is 'to' a preposition or verb particle?
Close this window before continuing your session.