From: Major Johnson <MAJORJ -at- DELPHI -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 4 May 1994 06:33:39 -0400

I believe that the Churchill quote is:

"That/(this?) is the sort of arrant pedantry up with which I will not put."

I think the adjective is "arrant" because I have a memory of reading a
commentary on the passage that distinguished between "arrant" -- egregious,
unmitigated, thoroughgoing -- and "errant" -- roving after adventure or
straying from the proper path (erring).

Incidentally, I would classify this as a constructive ambiguity or benign
pun, since both meanings apply (furthermore, "arrant" was actually a
variant of "errant" at one point in their linguistic rovings).

However, to return to our muttering: The Churchill quote is not just a
clever remark; it actually is, or adumbrates, an argument to prove that
it's sometimes grammatically correct to end a sentence with a preposition.

(1) "That is ... pedantry up with which I will not put," is incorrect
English. It is certainly dubious. To my ear, it is wrong.

(2) So the only grammatical alternative, "That is ... pedantry I will not
put up with," must be the correct way to say it.

(3) Hence there is at least one English sentence that ends in a
preposition and is grammatically correct.

Q. E. D.

Another counterexample to the pedant's proposition:

Sergeant: "Shall we go over the mountain or around it?"

Captain: "The enemy is in possession of the whole perimeter of the
mountain. We can't go around; we'll have to go over."

Here there is no possible rearrangement.

The comments claiming that these "with"s and "over"s aren't really
prepositions but adverbs, or some other kind of verbal auxiliaries, are
well-intentioned, but they seem to get us into needless arguments about
words; that is, about what to christen these funny locutions.

I think we might go on calling them prepositions, as long as we remember
that we're speaking English -- not Latin.

The Latin word for baggage is "impedimenta". and sometimes at airports I
have said facetiously that the Romans got that one right. However, a
serious claim that any baggage is an impediment may be a deep spiritual
truth, but in the ordinary sense it's false. Similarly, from the fact that
"prepositio" means pre-positioned in Latin, it doesn't follow that English
prepositions must be pre-positioned in English.

Quiz. Can you think of a sentence that ends in two prepositions? Three?
How many prepositions *could* you have at the end of a sentence? The
most I can manage is five (!), to wit:

Little Johnny asked his mother to read him "Jack and the Beanstalk" for a
bedtime story, but when she got to his room she found she had brought
"Cinderella" instead. Johnny querulously asked, "Mommy, why did you bring
the book I didn't want to be read out of to up for?"

And in conclusion:

New student in ghetto school -- if "ghetto" is bad language, please correct
me (we could say a gh__to school) -- speaking to a teacher: "Hey, where's
the library at?"

Teacher: "In this school we don't end sentences with prepositions."

Student: "O.K., where's the library at, a__hole?"

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