This ongoing series entitled "The Price's Write" features tips I have found or discovered myself through my years of writing and teaching writing. They are offered as suggestions to help you become a better writer. Our explanations will be brief, but I think if you follow these tips you can improve your writing. And more importantly, your audience will notice that improvement.In our last post, we talked about knowing the rules of grammar and then breaking them if it makes for better writing. In our next few posts, we'll talk about some of the older rules that have become outdated and you actually should be breaking right now.
Of course, your audience, your topic, your content, and your context should determine how flexible you should be with any rule.
For example, if you're writing a scholarly article for an academic publication, you will want to write not only in an appropriately formal tone, you will also want to be more careful in following the rules of grammar and language. The opposite is true is you're writing an informal piece. But the rules we're going to be talking about in our next few posts actually apply to both categories.
Never end a sentence with a preposition
Writing this way actually makes your writing sound stilted and artificial.
The must famous example of how bad this can sound comes from Winston Churchill, who as we know had a pretty fair command of both spoken and written English. When questioned about using prepositions to end his sentences, Churchill supposedly sarcastically uttered: "Ending a sentence with a preposition is something with which I will not put up". Sounds pretty uppity, right? And as a man of the people, uppity was the last way Churchill wanted to sound as he rallied all of Britain in its fight for survival against the Germans in World War II.
Here are a couple of my own examples:
- I don't think you realize who you're talking to vs. I do no think you realize to whom you are talking.
- Who are you going with vs. With whom are you going?
I think you get what I'm saying here.
Most times I want my prepositions at the end of my sentences. Unless there is an object following them like this: The boy, to whom I gave my money, has disappeared into the night.