Re: Dangling modifiers?

Subject: Re: Dangling modifiers?
From: Bruce Byfield <bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 22 Feb 2002 10:53:10 -0800

Ellen Kelly wrote:

So, I guess that raises the question of ending a sentence with a
preposition. You can see my specific examples in my previous post . . .

The idea that a sentence shouldn't end in a preposition is one of the arbitrary rules inflicted on us by the first grammarians. One of the first proponents of the idea was the poet and playwright John Dryden, and, by 1800, popular grammars were starting to pick it up. The reasoning is that "preposition" means that the word should come before what the noun it refers to..

Against this prescription, you can cite dozens of examples by Shakespeare, Jonson, and virtually every other writer of note in which sentences do end in a preposition. So, of all the arbitrary grammatical rules, this one is probably the most ignored.

Practically, I think the issue comes down to clarity and tone. If the sentence is very long, readers may have trouble seeing which noun the preposition is linked to. Similarly, not ending with a preposition usually gives a more formal tone, which may or may not be appropriate for your purposes.

--
Bruce Byfield 604.421.7177 bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com

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References:
RE: Dangling modifiers?: From: Ellen Kelly

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