How ironic. The "correct grammar" CR insists on defending was actually a very late addition to the "rules" of grammar, having been introduced in the 19th century by a meddling minister. Even he, however, did not insist on it as a rule, but rather encouraged it as a "more elegant" form, especially for formal writing.

I actually do hold the line at too rapid changes the language caused by the broadcasting of illiterate or incorrect forms by way of mass media and the internet. For example, I realize that such widespread exposure will eventually turn the idiom "toe the line" into "tow the line," simply because more people use it incorrectly now and the incorrect version gets more hits when googled. Here is my article on that subject: "'Toe the Line,' NOT 'Tow the Line.'"

The "rule" against prepositions at the ends of sentences is a recently introduced error based on an incorrect assumption about the nature of language(a little over a century is recent in terms of the evolution of language), just as the incorrect idiom "tow the line" is based on an incorrect assumption about the meaning of the phrase. In the same way they some people who write to me adamantly insist that "tow the line" must be correct because it's the one they have been hearing and reading the most, some people insist that the preposition "rule" must hold, because it's what they have been exposed to.

But the fact that a few generations of English teachers latched on to the preposition "rule" for a little over a century because of misguided notions about the nature of the English language and then pounded it into the heads of dutiful students does not mean that it is correct.

If you have not yet read the companion article to that first one about the preposition "rule," then you should. In that article I cite several well-known grammar experts, including H.W. Fowler, the grammarian's grammarian, in support of my assertion about prepositions at the ends of sentences--"Prepositions at the Ends of Sentences: Further Explanation of Why the 'Rule' Is Wrong."

If any of my readers are unwilling to trust me on this issue, perhaps you will trust those well-known experts I cite in that second article on prepositions.

A Response to Readers Who Still Insist That Prepositions Must Never Be Used at the Ends of Sentences

Tina Blue
October 7, 2007

Today a reader who signed himself/herself CR left this comment on my article "It's Usually Not Wrong to End a Sentence with a Preposition":

Does language evolve? Yes. However, the form which you mock is, no matter how you'd like to dress it, the correct grammar. As time goes on, the language changes, the spoken one much faster than the written one, which is exactly what is happening now in English. Needless to say though, we, the speakers of the language, should honor it at least to the point of resisting pointless change propogated by the uneducated. The Spanish, French, and the Germans have already figured this out as they have governing bodies that regulate their languages. Perhaps it's time we did too.
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