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'Taylor' Your Writing: Ending a Sentence with a Preposition Is Something to Think About PDF Print Email
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July 27, 2011:   Finish your vegetables.  Wait twenty minutes after eating before you go swimming.   Don't end a sentence with a preposition.  My parents' admonitions still ring in my ears.

It's easy in casual writing to find that a sentence has ended with a preposition:

"That is the door we went through."
"He's the one I'm disappointed in."
"Have you thought about the friend you are going with?"
"Those customs we disapprove of."
"Getting up early is something we are not accustomed to."

Then there is the quick editorial scramble to rewrite:

"That is the door through which we went."
"He is the one in whom I am disappointed."
"Have you thought about the friend with whom you are going?"
"Those are customs of which we disapprove."
"Getting up early is something to which we are not accustomed."

Rewriting in this manner often ends up sounding like a page from Shakespeare, and the poor reader is left without CliffsNotes.

Then I found it.  Shakespeare himself yielded to the occasional preposition sentence-ender:

My ashes, as the phoenix, may bring forth
A bird that will revenge upon you all:
And in that hope I throw mine eyes to heaven,
Scorning whate'er you can afflict me with.
--Henry VI, Part III (I.4.35-8)

Blissfully, the editors at the grammar bible, The Chicago Manual of Style, have deemed that "The traditional caveat of yesteryear against ending sentences with prepositions is, for most writers, an unnecessary and pedantic restriction."  CMS, para. 5.176 (16th ed. 2010).  Authors Strunk and White counsel that "not only is the preposition acceptable at the end, sometimes it is more effective in that spot than anywhere else." The Elements of Style (4th ed. 2000), 77.

In A Dictionary of Modern English Usage, author H.W. Fowler explains that this rule was an attempt by writers to follow the rules of Latin grammar, but he then lists numerous writers from Chaucer to Kipling who have employed a sentence-ending preposition.  Fowler's advice is, "Follow no arbitrary rule" but, instead, make a conscious choice based upon the feeling the writing will elicit in the reader.  A Dictionary of Modern English Usage, H.W. Fowler, ed. Sir Ernest Gowers (Oxford Univ. Press, 2d ed. 1965), 473-75.

(I will spare the reader the more technical discussion by Fowler about never separating an adverbial particle from its phrasal verb, but he shows the awkwardness of trying to remedy "which I will not put up with" by changing it to "up with which I will not put," a remedy whose denunciation is commonly attributed to Winston Churchill, who is alleged to have quipped that an editor's rearranging of his words to avoid ending a sentence with a preposition is "arrant pedantry up with which I will not put.")

Happily, then, this is one rule that we can disregard in favor of creative writing and common sense.  I might just eat my dessert before dinner.  And skip the broccoli alongside.

 

 

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Books & the Arts Directory

Art Restoration and Framing

Fine Arts Gallery of Bronxville

The Fine Arts Gallery is a beautiful gallery in the heart of our village. It sells original art and specializes in local artists from Bronxville past and present. It provides high end custom framing, art consulting, restoration and appraisals. Appointments are available upon request. It also sells the Historical Conservancy Journals which include a history of the village as well as the artists who have lived here and are presenting living here ($20/copy).

99 Pondfield Road
Bronxville, New York 10708
914-779-5053


The O'Silas Gallery at Concordia College

171 White Plains Road
Bronxville, NY 10708
https://osilasgallery.org/

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Books & Culture

Bronxville Public Library

The Bronxville Public Library traces its origins back to 1875, when it was a small lending library housed in a room attached to the “Bronxville Model School.” The Library was officially chartered in 1906 and moved into the Village Hall Building. The needs of the library grew with the town and, in 1942, a new standalone building was erected, which is where the Library is today. Over the years, the Library was renovated and expanded to meet the needs of the community.

The Library has wonderful resources for adults and children and offers a comfortable and relaxing environment. The Library also houses a fine art collection, consisting principally of Bronxville painters and sculptors.

The Library offers special events, art exhibitions, and programs for adults, young adults and children.  All events are open to the public, unless otherwise indicated.

The Bronxville Public Library
914-337-7680
201 Pondfield Road (Midland Avenue & Pondfield Road)
http://bronxvillelibrary.org/


Womrath Bookshop

Womrath Bookshop is a located in the heart of Bronxville village. In addition to selling books, the store also sell children's toys and holds readings both at the store and elsewhere in the community, such as at the Library.

76 Pondfield Road, Bronxville

(914) 337-0199

http://www.womrath.com/

Music & Performing Arts Schools

 

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Concordia Conservatory

Concordia Conservatory, a preeminent center for music education in Westchester County, is a welcoming community where children and adults find lifelong inspiration and joy through learning, performing, listening to, and participating with others in music. Concordia Conservatory, a community outreach division of Concordia College, offers top quality music programs for early childhood, youth, adults and seniors. The Conservatory's vision is to enrich the lives of the people in our community through music.

Executive Director: Kathleen Suss

Concordia Conservatory of Music & Art

Concordia College-New York

Phone: 914-395-4507

Kathleen.Suss@concordia-ny.edu

www.concordiaconservatory.org


Crestwood Music Education Center

Crestwood Music Education Center, founded in 1987, has established itself as one of the most reputable and premier music schools in Westchester County with well over 800 students studying piano, guitar voice, Suzuki and much more. Their philosophy is to create a very positive, stimulating environment that gives each student the chance for creative self-expression. They believe in the importance of having a world-class faculty with extensive education as well as the teaching and performing experience that can only found in America's finest music schools.

453 White Plains Road
Eastchester, New York 10709
914-961-3497

 

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