Re: Display or appear (Was: Can "either" be used ... )

Subject: Re: Display or appear (Was: Can "either" be used ... )
From: Sandy Harris <sandy -at- storm -dot- ca>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 05 Oct 2001 15:55:58 -0400

Bruce Byfield wrote:
>
> Mark L. Levinson wrote:
>
> > "Note that it is permissible to end a sentence with a
> > preposition, despite a durable superstition that it is
> > an error," as Johnson's _Handbook of Good English_ says.
>
> Under heavy pressure from everyday usage, people are starting to relax
> the rule against ending a sentence with a preposition.

No. The usage long antedates the prescriptivist rule. I think Chaucer
ended sentences with prepositions. Certainly Shakespeare did, and many
more recent writers do so routinely.

> However, that
> doesn't mean that the preposition rule isn't widespread and regularly.
> Only a few months ago, I had a long and fairly aimiable discussion about
> it with the copy editor for a magazine. Not long before that, the issue
> was raised by the reviewers of a manual. It's a real rule, believe me.

That depends what you mean by a "real rule".

It is not and has never been a rule in the sense of an accurate
description of normal English usage.

If by a 'real rule' you mean something someone may quote at you in an
effort to justify changing some text, then yes, it is real. Completely
wrong, but real.

Some quotes from the alt.english.usage FAQ:
http://www.cis.ohio-state.edu/hypertext/faq/usenet/alt-usage-english-faq/faq.html

> Winston Churchill was editing a proof of one of his books, when
> he noticed that an editor had clumsily rearranged one of Churchill's
> sentences so that it wouldn't end with a preposition. Churchill
> scribbled in the margin, "This is the sort of English up with which
> I will not put." ...

> Fowler and nearly every other respected prescriptivist see
> NOTHING wrong with ending a clause with a preposition; Fowler
> calls it a "superstition". ... Indeed, Fowler considers "a
> good land to live in" grammatically superior to "a good land
> in which to live", since one cannot say *"a good land which
> to inhabit".

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Follow-Ups:

References:
Re: Display or appear (Was: Can "either" be used ... ): From: Mark L. Levinson
Re: Display or appear (Was: Can "either" be used ... ): From: Bruce Byfield
Re: Display or appear (Was: Can "either" be used ... ): From: Mark L. Levinson
Re: Display or appear (Was: Can "either" be used ... ): From: Bruce Byfield

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