Toss Useless Prepositions

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I’ve covered the terminal preposition issue before, but there’s one small clarification necessary.

Generally speaking, it’s okay to end a sentence with a preposition. Just about every linguistic authority approves of this practice despite the tenacity of the mythical rule against it. But there is one exception.

If the preposition that concludes your sentence is unnecessary, by all means eliminate it. The most common kind of superfluous preposition is at:

Excuse me, where’s the restroom at?
Where’d I leave my keys at?

We do this with to sometimes also:

Where did that muskrat go to?

There are superfluous prepositions that we insert into the middle of sentences as well. The following sentences, for example, would be improved by simply eliminating the prepositions. They add nothing to the sentences:

Tell Arthur to get his boots off of my coffee table.
We met up with our old college professor at the library.

So, there is no rule about ending sentences with prepositions, but it’s best to eliminate any unnecessary prepositions, no matter where you find them.

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About the Author

Brian Wasko

Brian WaskoBrian is the founder and president of WriteAtHome.com. One of his passions is to teach young people how to write better.View all posts by Brian Wasko

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