Top 10 grammar myths: you must not end a sentence with a preposition

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.’

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