englishpage.com

Can you end a sentence with a preposition in English?

SHORT ANSWER: Yes, you can end a sentence with a preposition in English. In fact, in some situations, you have to end a sentence with a preposition because there is no other choice.

LONG ANSWER: Many native English speakers are taught that they should not end sentences with prepositions. This is a matter of style rather than grammar. Unfortunately, some native English speakers will insist this style preference is a grammatical rule. This is not true. And this piece of bad advice can cause major confusion for English learners.

This myth is the result of Latin grammarians insisting that Latin grammar applied to English. However, English is a Germanic language with much more flexible preposition usage than Latin. English sentences regularly end with prepositions. In the following examples, the sentences ending with prepositions are far more natural sounding.

Examples:

  • From where are you? Unnatural
  • Where are you from? Natural
  • In what are you interested? Unnatural
  • What are you interested in? Natural
  • For what did he pay? Unnatural
  • What did he pay for? Natural

With direction prepositions, you often have to end sentences with prepositions.

Examples:

  • Please go in. Correct
  • We walked out. Correct
  • Step down. Correct

Similarly, when using phrasal verbs, we frequently have to end sentences with prepositions.

Examples:

  • I woke up when my alarm went off. Correct
  • Will you please shut up? Correct
  • Tom asked Lily to marry him, but she turned him down. Correct
Your personal online English school. Learn English at Englishpage.com!
Weekly Lesson Grammar Book Vocabulary Verb Tenses Conditionals Modals Gerunds / Infinitives Articles Prepositions Mini-tutorials Irregular Verbs Reading Room Listening Lounge Games English Schools Phrasal Verb Dictionary Verb + Preposition Dictionary