Ending Sentences with Prepositions; Unlocking the Power of Your Writing

Amethyst Champagne
5 min readApr 20, 2023
Photo by Glen Carrie on Unsplash

Have you ever been told that ending a sentence with a preposition is grammatically incorrect? If so, you’re not alone. Many of us were taught that ending a sentence with a preposition is a big no-no.

I always wondered why that was the case. I saw it all the time in fiction books and heard them in conversations. And they don’t make the sentences sound weird or incorrect.

So, when I figured out the truth of this “rule” was a myth, I was thrilled.

Ending a sentence with a preposition can improve the flow and clarity of your writing, especially if you are a creative writer like myself.

By unlocking the power of ending sentences with prepositions, you can create a more natural and conversational language that engages your readers and makes your writing more memorable.

So, let’s dive in and unleash the power of prepositions!

The History of the “No-Ending-Prepositions” Rule

The “no-ending-prepositions” rule has existed since the 17th century when scholars began studying Latin and Greek grammar.

This is because Latin and Greek are inflected languages, meaning words’ endings change depending on their role in a sentence. This makes it easy to tell which words are nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc.

However, English is not an inflected language. Instead, we rely on word order and context to understand the meaning of a sentence.

Despite this, the “no-ending-prepositions” rule persisted, and many people still believe it today. However, there is no reason to avoid ending a sentence with a preposition in modern English.

Some of the most famous writers in the English language have used prepositions at the end of their sentences, including Shakespeare, Jane Austen, and Winston Churchill.

So, if someone tells you using prepositions at the end of sentences is wrong, remember that some of the best writers used them.

Why It’s Okay to End Sentences with Prepositions

The main reason it’s okay to end a sentence with a preposition is it’s natural and conversational.

As a Native English speaker myself, I know we use this construction daily. It’s just how we talk. And no one looks at us or corrects us.

For example, “What are you looking at?” or “Where are you going to?” sound much more natural than “At what are you looking?” or “To where are you going?”

And trying to avoid ending sentences with prepositions can lead to awkward and convoluted sentences. And that can confuse you and/or your readers.

Using prepositions at the end of sentences can create more concise and natural-sounding sentences.

The Benefits of Ending Sentences with Prepositions

There are several benefits to using prepositions at the end of sentences.

Engaging

The first is it makes your writing more engaging and memorable.

When you use natural and conversational language for articles and blog posts, your readers are more likely to connect with your writing and remember what you said.

Which is something you want. I know I do.

And for fiction writing, much of the dialogue and character thoughts end with prepositions. So, not using them would only make your writing sound unnatural, turning off your readers.

Clarity

Another benefit is it can improve the flow and clarity of your writing.

Using prepositions can create sentences that are easier to read and understand. This is especially true when writing for an online audience who may be scanning your content for information.

What good would it do to confuse your audience? Or worse, yourself? So, for the sake of clarity, please use them.

Examples

Here are some examples of how using prepositions at the end of sentences can improve your writing:

· “What are you waiting for?” This sentence is much more natural and conversational than “For what are you waiting?”

· “That’s the person I was talking to.” This sentence is more precise than “That’s the person to whom I was speaking.”

· “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” This sentence is much more concise than “I don’t know about what you are talking.”

As you can see, using prepositions at the end of sentences can make your writing more natural, clear, and concise.

How to Use Prepositions Effectively in Your Writing

While using prepositions at the end of sentences is okay, using them effectively is essential. Here are some tips for using prepositions in your writing:

· Use prepositions that make contextual sense. For example, “What are you looking at?” makes sense because the preposition “at” is correct in this context.

· Avoid use at the end of long and complex sentences. This can make your writing harder to read and understand.

· Use sparingly. While using prepositions at the end of sentences is okay, you don’t want to overuse them. This can make your writing sound repetitive and unnatural.

Common Prepositions at the End of Sentences

Here are some common prepositions that you can use at the end of sentences:

· About

· At

· For

· From

· In

· Of

· On

· To

· With

These prepositions are versatile and can be used in a variety of contexts.

Mistakes to Avoid

While it’s okay to use prepositions at the end of sentences, veer away from common mistakes such as:

· Using the wrong preposition. Make sure you use the correct preposition for the context.

· Using prepositions unnecessarily. Sometimes, prepositions are not needed in a sentence. Make sure you only use prepositions when they are necessary.

· Overusing prepositions. Overusing prepositions can make your writing sound repetitive and unnatural.

Tips for Incorporating Prepositions into Your Writing Style

· Read your writing out loud. This can help you identify sentences where prepositions might be needed.

· Practice using prepositions in your everyday speech. This can help you get more comfortable using prepositions at the end of sentences.

Exercises to Do

· Write a paragraph using at least three prepositions at the end of sentences.

· Rewrite a sentence that uses a preposition in the middle of the sentence so the preposition is at the end.

· Write a conversation between two people that uses prepositions at the end of sentences.

Conclusion: Embrace the Power of Prepositions!

Ending sentences with prepositions is okay and can improve the flow, clarity, and engagement of your writing.

Using prepositions effectively creates a more natural and conversational language that connects with your readers and makes your writing more memorable.

So, don’t be afraid to use prepositions at the end of sentences. Embrace the power of prepositions and take your writing to the next level!

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Amethyst Champagne

I write personal stories, articles, and more in hopes of helping others.