preposition


preposition
preposition
1. A preposition is a word such as after, in, to, and with, which usually stands before a noun or pronoun and establishes its relation to what goes before (the man on the platform / came after dinner / What did you do it for?). The superstition that a preposition should always precede the word it governs and should not end a sentence (as in the last example given) seems to have developed from an observation of the 17c poet John Dryden, although Dryden himself did not always follow the rule in his own prose. It is not based on a real appreciation of the structure of English, which regularly separates words that are grammatically related.
2. There are cases when it is either impossible or not natural to organize the sentence in a way that avoids a final preposition:
a) In relative clauses and questions featuring phrasal verbs:

What did Marion think she was up to? —Julian Barnes, 1980

/

Budget cuts themselves are not damaging: the damage depends on where the cuts are coming fromSpectator, 1993

/

The right to fail is one of the holy tenets of student drama, and it's a right that's taken full advantage ofTimes 2003

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b) In passive constructions:

Even the dentist was paid forNew Yorker, 1987

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c) In short sentences with a to-infinitive or verbal noun:

There are a couple of things I want to talk to you about —F. Knebel, 1972

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Hand-turned treen are a joy to look atDaily Telegraph, 1980

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3. conclusion.
In many cases, especially in more formal writing, it is preferable to avoid placing a preposition at the end of a sentence where it might look stranded. In many other cases, and in conversational English generally, it is impossible to contrive the sentence in such a way as to avoid a final preposition without producing awkwardness or unnaturalness, and it is inadvisable to try.

Modern English usage. 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Preposition — Préposition Voir « préposition » sur le Wiktionnaire …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Préposition — Voir « préposition » sur le Wiktionnaire …   Wikipédia en Français

  • PRÉPOSITION — On appelle «préposition» une des parties du discours, invariable et toujours liée à un syntagme qu’elle régit et précède immédiatement (c’est le cas le plus général et le terme même de pré position l’atteste), qu’elle peut suivre (certains lui… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • preposition — Preposition. s. f. Une des parties de l Oraison. Particule indeclinable qui se met presque tousjours devant le mot qu elle regit, Preposition de temps. Preposition de lieu. Pour un tel, contre un tel, devant les Juges, sur une table, dans un… …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • preposition — abbreviation preposition. preposition [ˌprɛpə zɪʃ(ə)n] noun Grammar a word governing, and usually preceding, a noun or pronoun and expressing a relation to another word or element, as in ‘she arrived after dinner’ and ‘what did you do it for?’… …   English new terms dictionary

  • Preposition — Prep o*si tion, n. [L. praepositio, fr. praeponere to place before; prae before + ponere to put, place: cf. F. pr[ e]position. See {Position}, and cf. {Provost}.] [1913 Webster] 1. (Gram.) A word employed to connect a noun or a pronoun, in an… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • preposition — late 14c., from L. praepositionem (nom. praepositio) a putting before, from praepositus, pp. of praeponere put before, from prae before (see PRE (Cf. pre )) + ponere put, set, place (see POSITION (Cf. position)). In gr …   Etymology dictionary

  • preposition — Preposition, Praepositio …   Thresor de la langue françoyse

  • preposition — ► NOUN Grammar ▪ a word governing a noun or pronoun and expressing a relation to another word or element, as in ‘she arrived after dinner’ and ‘what did you do it for?’. DERIVATIVES prepositional adjective …   English terms dictionary

  • preposition — [prep΄ə zish′ən] n. [ME preposicioun < L praepositio (< praepositus, pp. of praeponere < prae , before + ponere, to place: see PRE & POSITION): transl. of Gr prothesis, PROTHESIS] 1. in some languages, a relation or function word, as… …   English World dictionary


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