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Grammar Repair Shop: When to end a line with a preposition

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in Workplace Communication

“Whom did you work for?”

“Which department did you transfer from?”

What do you think about those prepositions dangling at the end of the above sentences? Do they look like something your high school English teacher would have frowned upon? If you changed them (“From which department did you transfer?”), would they sound too stilted?

Many people were taught that ending a sentence with a preposition was flat-out wrong. But today’s grammarians actually would give the sentences a thumbs-up.

They would disapprove of ending the sentence with a preposition that doesn’t have an object. So, for example, it would be grammatically incorrect to say, “Where’s the document at?”

The bottom line: It’s fine to end a sentence with a preposition, grammatically speaking, and it often makes your sentences flow more naturally. However, many people still believe the practice is incorrect. Best bet: End with a preposition only when it keeps you from sounding hopelessly stilted.

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