Monday, January 12, 2009

Ending My Sentences with Prepositions

A note on my title at the Green Cup: I received a comment shortly after publishing this. No body; just a subject line that read "With whom do you reflect?" I went and found my copy of The Little, Brown Handbook. It's a Fifth Edition and I thnk they're up to the 10th now, so it's a little out of date. But I suspect the rules have become even more relaxed. It says that "Prepositions usually come before their objects. But in speech and informal writing the preposition sometimes comes after its object." It gives the example "What do you want to see him about?" This is a blog - a writing genre characterized in part by its informal tone. As a linguist, I doubt that a single native English speaker would miss my meaning in the title simply because of the placement of the preposition. I agree with with Tina Blue on the matter: Some of the "rules" of English grammar that you learned in school were devised by pedants who believed that English was inferior to Latin and should be improved by forcing it onto the Procrustean bed of Latin grammar. Finally, although I'm certified to teach high school English, I consider "whom" to be an archaic form that gets used now in only the most formal settings. I can't recall the last time I used it myself...

1 comment:

tom in St. Louis said...

Somehow "For Who the Bell Tolls" just doesn't resonate , but I know what you mean about whom.
I read you reflections post and it makes me see that my veteran status at my school is sometimes useful to the newbies... if they care to listen. But too often they are so busy trying to keep their heads above the water line that they can't see that old forest.
I have a novel coming out soon about a veteran middle school special ed teacher's fun advenutures. The first chapter is posted on my blog, www.tomsboomertimes.blogspot.com. I invite you and your readers to check it out.
Take care.