Many people have been taught not to end a sentence with a preposition (prepositions are words such as by, for, in, of, to that show relationships between words).
Winston Churchill once said:
This is the type of arrant pedantry up with which I shall not put.
Using a preposition at the end of a sentence can make your writing more informal.
That’s the manager I wrote to. (simpler than: That’s the manager to whom I wrote.)
He’ll never give up.
But sometimes a preposition at the end of a sentence can weaken your writing. In their book Style: Lessons in clarity and grace (2010), Joseph Williams and Gregory Colomb say the following sentence from George Orwell’s essay ‘Politics and the English Language’ would have been more emphatic without a preposition at the end. Compare:
George Orwell: ‘[The defence of the English language] has nothing to do with … the setting up of a ‘standard English’ which must never be departed from.’
Joseph Williams and Gregory Colomb’s rewrite: ‘We must not defend English just to create a “standard English” whose rules we must always obey.’
To learn more about grammar, register for one of Mary’s online grammar programs.