Monday, October 21, 2013

Grammar up with which I will not put!

What's with the hair, dude?
A snobbish English teacher was sitting in an Atlanta airport coffee shop waiting for her flight back to Connecticut, when a friendly Southern belle sat down next to her.

"Where y’all goin’ to?" asked the Southern belle.

Turning her nose in the air, the snob replied, "I don’t answer people who end their sentences with prepositions."

The Southern belle thought a moment, and tried again.

"Where y’all goin’ to, bitch?"

That one is from a blog post at the Oxford Dictionaries. If you want a good lesson on prepositions, that post by Catherine Soanes is your go to post.

For the rest of us, here's a distillation regarding ending a sentence with them.
The word ‘preposition’ ultimately derives from Latin prae ‘before’ and ponere ’to place’. In Latin grammar, the rule is that a preposition should always precede the prepositional object that it is linked with: it is never placed after it. According to a number of other authorities, it was the dramatist John Dryden in 1672 who was the first person to criticize a piece of English writing (by Ben Jonson) for placing a preposition at the end of a clause instead of before the noun or pronoun to which it was linked. 
This prohibition was taken up by grammarians and teachers in the next two centuries and became very tenacious. English is not Latin, however, and contemporary authorities do not try to shoehorn it into the Latin model. Nevertheless, many people are still taught that ending a sentence or clause with a preposition should be avoided.
I'd like to point out that both John Dryden and Ben Jonson are dead. Reason enough to avoid fighting over grammar.

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