Jeff Mikels » July 16, 2011

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Random: My thoughts on prepositions

The preposition at the end of a sentence is one of those grammar “rules” that is often disregarded, but the three main reasons it is there as a rule as I understand it are the following:

  1. To reduce redundancy.
  2. To increase clarity.
  3. To strengthen speech.

To illustrate #1, for example, the most commonly misused preposition that I’ve heard is “at.” It shows up in the sentence, “Let me tell you where I am at.” The preposition in this case is adding a layer of redundancy that isn’t necessary. Simply removing it, we are left with, “Let me tell you where I am.” This second version is stronger, because the emphasis is on the verb. People inherently know this, I think, because the usual formulation of the sentence actually goes like this: “Let me tell you where I’m at.” People will use the contracted form of “I am” but feel like something is missing, and so they will add the lingering “at” to finish the sentence. Continue reading

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