Up With Which I Will Not Put
Winston Churchill, famous for the above phrase, probably didn’t write it to an editor correcting a sentence of Churchill’s ending with a preposition. After all, we would actually say, “I won’t put up with that”—ha ha—and wouldn’t have to twist the phrase around.
The point, though, is that many of us were brought up to avoid ending sentences with a preposition—and no one knew why. Just one of those rules. However, some say the rule came from Latin, not a language that we ourselves use. Or perhaps John Dryden invented the rule in 1672. (Why?)
Regardless, we’re wise to that, as we are these days to many misuses of both language and other human beings—and not to worry, currently we can end a sentence with a preposition. See my prior piece (scroll down) about relaxing the language. Probably we can even split infinitives—such as in “to boldly go.”
Something else I want to say about prepositions is that the word “like” is a preposition. I finally learned this a few years back, and discovered that ‘like’ doesn’t go in front of a clause.
“I felt like I’d run a million miles” would be “I felt as though I’d run a million miles.”
And even more tellingly: “I felt like I was on another planet” would be “I felt as if I were on another planet.” Using the “like” can hide the fact that we aren’t employing a subjunctive when we should. Oh, oh, I’ve opened a subjunctive can of worms.
But you’ll learn lots of other arcane and practical language things from my book The Naked Writer, just re-released by Curiosity Quills. Though if you’d rather learn about Navajo spirituality and the future downfall of the planet due to ecological disasters, read Question Woman & Howling Sky from Portals Publishing.
Oh, heck, just buy both.