Ending a Sentence with a Preposition

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Ending a sentence with a preposition has long been frowned upon by traditional readers and is still considered grammatically incorrect. However, it’s not technically an error. It’s perfectly OK to end a sentence with a preposition such as with, for, of, and to in the English language. ‘Where did you get this shirt from?’ and ‘This is the novel I told you about!’ sound much more natural than ‘From where did you get this shirt?’ or ‘This is the novel about which I told you!’

So, if the alternatives tend to create confusion or sound unnatural, it’s totally permissible to end your sentence with a preposition especially in casual or informal writing. Most grammar and usage guides had come to the conclusion that there was really nothing wrong with ending a sentence with a preposition (also known as preposition stranding, or sentence-terminal prepositions). For example:

Who were you speaking to?  (informal and more casual)

To whom were you speaking? (formal, but not in use in conversation)

Whom were you speaking to? (breaks out the rule of ending a sentence with a preposition, a little formal)

 

Some example sentences

Who (whom) were you sitting with?

I don’t understand what she’s talking about!

Where does she come from?

Who is she going out with?

Which movie was she cast in? (casual)

In which movie was she cast? (formal)

Where did this box come from?

 

Many English idioms and colloquial expressions end in prepositions. When you use the expressions at the end of a sentence, the sentence ultimately ends in a preposition. For example:

She gave up the job when her first child came along.

Thanks for stopping by!

The shop is all set up.

Will you calm down?

 

Is it necessary to move the preposition?

Though in informal setting, it doesn’t require you to move the preposition away from the end of the sentence, it could be your choice in formal writing. Phrases that sound natural in informal English may feel odd or awkward in formal essay, article or conversation. Here are some tips for changing sentences in formal writing.

Today is the big day; who his only daughter is getting married off to? (casual)

Today is the big day; to whom his only daughter is getting married off? (formal)

She’s the girl I’m going to work with. (informal)

She’s the girl with whom I’m going to work. (formal)

Mughal era is the period I’m focusing on. (informal)

Mughal era is the period on which I’m focusing. (formal)

Palmistry is a subject Tom knows nothing about. (informal)

Palmistry is a subject about which Tom knows nothing. (formal)

 

Some more example sentences

What should I put the honey in?

They need to decide which side they’re on.

Who is this coffee for?

There is nothing in her life to be grateful for.

There’s nothing to be afraid of.

She wished she had someone to confide in.

What did you step on?

The meeting was called off.

The matter has been dealt with.

The maid knows where your shoes are at. (‘at’ is unnecessary; the sentence is okay with ‘The maid knows where your shoes are.)

Mother doesn’t know where she’s going to. (‘to’ is unnecessary)

Fewer vs. Less

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Fewer and less both represent the opposite of the comparative adjective more. However, the main difference between fewer and less is to deduce whether fewer and less will be working with a countable or uncountable noun in the given sentence.

People often confuse when to use less and when to use fewer in a sentence. Here are some tips on how to use fewer and less correctly though there are some exceptions to the general rules about their usage.

 

Use fewer if you are referring to people or things in the plural (e.g. applesbooks, cookiesboys, students). For example:

People these days are buying fewer gold bars. (gold bars countable)

Fewer entrepreneurs have invested in real estate lately. (entrepreneurs countable)

 

Use less when you are referring to something that can’t be counted or doesn’t have a plural (e.g. sugar, moneymilktimemusicrain). For example:

People these days are buying less gold jewellery. (jewellery uncountable)

In these precarious times, people are looking to spend less money. (money uncountable)

 

Some example sentences of fewer

If fewer people used polythene waste on hills, there would be less of a threat to the ecosystem.

Fewer people smoke these days than used to.

We received far fewer lawsuits of divorce this year than expected.

Fewer than 3,500 tigers are left in the wild today.

Sam made fewer grammatical mistakes than sally (did) in essay competition.

Your guitar left me with less space in the car.

 

Some example sentences of less

Lisa now wants to spend less time with her in-laws. (determiner – a smaller amount of; not as much)

Ironically, when she was in hospital, she listened to less music.

Less is also used with numbers when they are on their own and with expressions of measurement or time, e.g.:

The baby is born weighing less than 5 pounds.

Their relationship lasted less than six months.

Brooklyn is less than 8 miles away from Madison Square Garden Center.

The child mortality is now less of a problem than it used to be. (pronoun – a smaller amount or quantity of something)

They covered that much distance in less than an hour.

Pitcairn Island has less than 50 inhabitants; most reside near the village of Adamstown.

‘Avoid less important question in studies’ (adverb – to a smaller extent; not so much)

Emma has less than fifty dollars left on her trip to Wagner Vineyards. (though we can count money, it is common sense to think of money as a bulk quantity rather than an aggregate of currency units. So, we use less rather than fewer.

Emma has fewer than fifty dollars left on her trip to Wagner Vineyards. (not wrong but would seem awkward and unexpected to the listener)

 

Now that it is clear to you as to where to use fewer and where to use less, you are less likely to make mistakes in the usage of these words. However, you have to be more careful in formal writing. In informal writing or speech, it all depends on which one sounds better to your ear.

Rise vs. Arise

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Rise (as a verb, intransitive) means to move, or appear to move, physically upwards relative to the ground; to move upwards; to grow upward; to assume an upright position; to leave one’s bed; to get up; to be resurrected; to terminate an official sitting; to adjourn.

Some example sentences of rise

She reluctantly rose from the chair.

She watched the sun rise behind the mountains.

This white spruce rises to a height of twenty feet.

Put the dough in a warm place and wait for it to rise.

As the child looked on and watched nervously, the balloon rose gently (up) into the air.

She knew that might get a rise out of him. (an angry reaction)

 

Rise (as a noun): the process of or an action or instance of moving upwards or becoming greater:

There has been a sharp rise of gold prices since last week.

A considerable rise in his pay rate; a raise (US)

The rise of nationalism in Europe

The rise of female empowerment

The low rise pants aren’t always her best choice.

 

 

Arise (as a verb) means to come up from a lower to a higher position; to come into action; to spring up; being, or notice; to become operative; sensible; or visible; to begin to act a part; to present itself; to come up from one’s bed or place of repose; to get up.

 

Some example sentences of arise

She arose early in the morning for her morning prayers.

The air got colder as a dark thick cloud arose above the hills.

He is not always willing to walk his talk and won’t be ready when an opportunity arose.

A problem has arisen with my ration card.

 

To distinguish the verb ‘rise’ from the verb ‘arise’, you can tell the difference that the ‘rise’ is an intransitive verb, i.e. it’s not followed by a direct object.

For example:

The sun rises in the East.

Rise can also be used to show that something abstract is going up, as for example in

Gold prices are rising again.

Arise means ‘happen’ or ‘occur’. We use it with abstract nouns (opportunity, problem, love, joy, excitement, etc.). The three forms of arise are arise, arose, arisen. It is used in formal contexts. Both ‘rise’ and ‘arise’ are irregular verbs:

The problem arose for organizers when Justin didn’t turn up for the concert.

 

Now the question arises when we use ‘rise’ and when ‘arise’. The answer is simple — we use the verb ‘rise’ when we mean to physically move in an upward direction. On the other hand, we use ‘arise’ when we want to express the sense of something coming into being, originating or happening. That SOMETHING may be a problem, a difficulty, a situation, a necessity, an occasion, etc. Hence, ‘arise’ is a verb with an abstract meaning showing that something is happening and even people are aware of it happening:

When something rises, it moves upwards.

A murmuration of birds rose from the tree-tops.

The farmer community rose (up) against the government demanding the repeal of new agriculture laws.

She promised to help her ex-husband if the occasion arose.

Now the question has arisen whether the government of the state can be carried on in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution.

Epidemic vs. Pandemic

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The difference between the two –demics, according to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, is that an epidemic is “an outbreak of disease that spreads quickly and affects many individuals at the same time.” On the other hand, a pandemic is a type of epidemic (one with greater range and coverage), an outbreak of a disease that occurs over a wide geographic area and affects an exceptionally high proportion of the population.

 

Epidemic = may be traced to the Greek epidḗmios (“within the country, among the people, prevalent (of a disease)”), may carry broader meanings, such as “excessively prevalent,” “contagious,” or “characterized by very widespread growth or extent” (often used in a non-medical sense):

 

Mother remembered hearing about the plague epidemic which had struck the town when she was 10.

The ship’s captain came down with the influenza and an onboard epidemic occurred.

An epidemic of SARS affected 26 countries and resulted in more than 8000 cases in 2003.

Haiti’s 2010 cholera epidemic went on for nearly a decade and killed nearly 10,000 people.

Sleepy Joe Biden was in charge of the H1N1 Swine Flu epidemic which killed thousands of people: Donald J. Trump 

Some more examples
After epidemics such as plague, cholera, smallpox and syphilis infected their first patients, they spread widely via means of transport.

A cholera outbreak/epidemic can occur in both endemic countries and in countries where cholera does not regularly occur.

Foot and Mouth disease is one which affects livestock such as cows and sheep, and is incredibly infectious.

An outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome, better known by its acronym, SARS, tore through the city in 2003, leaving 299 people dead.

Before the novel coronavirus, many momentous epidemics and pandemics altered the course of human history, killing large percentages of the global population.

 

Pandemic = is less often encountered in a broad and non-medical sense, but does have additional senses, including “affecting the majority of people in a country or a number of countries”, “found in most parts of the world and in varied ecological conditions,” and “of or relating to common or sensual love” (in this last sense the word is usually capitalized). Pandemic comes from the Greek pandēmos (“of all the people”), which itself is from pan- (“all, every”) and dēmos (“people”):

 

Unlike an epidemic, a pandemic affects people worldwide.

The main thing about a pandemic like the novel coronavirus is that it doesn’t discriminate.

The most deadly pandemic in history was the Spanish flu of 1918.

The World Health Organization has declared the novel coronavirus outbreak a pandemic.

The epidemic had rapidly become a pandemic, making its way around the world.

COVID-19 began as an epidemic in China, before making its way around the world in a matter of months and becoming a pandemic.

Epidemics don’t always become pandemics, and it’s not always a fast or clear transition.

Some more examples
The COVID-19 pandemic is distinct from previous global outbreaks.

The last pandemic declared was in 2009 during the outbreak of H1N1 flu, commonly known as the swine flu.

The first cholera pandemic occurred in 1817 and originated in Russia, where 1 million people died.

In 1918, the Spanish flu caused a global pandemic, spreading rapidly and killing at least 50 million people, making it the deadliest pandemic in modern history.

Should schools be closed for a few weeks, as a way of short-circuiting the pandemic?

Europe has now become the epicenter of the pandemic, with more reported cases and deaths than the rest of the world combined, apart from China.

President just declared the coronavirus pandemic a national emergency.  

Even if countries vaccinate their citizens, they will not remain immune to the pandemic shock.

I was disgusted ____ his behaviour. 

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Disgusted (at/by/with)

Disgusted (adj) means ‘feeling or showing disgust; disturbed physically or mentally by something distasteful; cause (someone) to feel revulsion or strong disapproval; severely disappointed at someone or something:
We were disgusted at her incessant lying and cheating on her husband.
I am totally disgusted at you for not feeding our dog as punishment.
She is totally disgusted by what has happened.
There is a whole world of sycophantic and biased television that I am disgusted by.
We were absolutely disgusted with the way both teams behaved just after the match ended.

Disgusted at:

The Vice-Chancellor was disgusted at/with the way the police treated the students.

Mr and Mrs Franklin said they were disgusted at the situation which had left them speechless.

I was disgusted at the way the man seemed to be more concerned about his car than the victim of the crash.

Disgusted by:

They were disgusted by the violence in the campus.

Mother was disgusted by Joe’s failure.

Parents were disgusted by the glorification of violence in the movie.

He was so shabbily dressed at the party. I tried hard not to be disgusted by his appearance.

He’s disgusted by all the promises political leaders made at the time of elections.

Most locals were disgusted by the way the protesters had blocked the roads.

Disgusted with:

I am disgusted with you.

She’s totally disgusted with Bob’s behaviour.

He was disgusted with the Jury’s decision.

Jane was disgusted with the Idea of travelling by car instead of train.

My wife was really disgusted with this idiot native who had just spat on our car.

The minister was disgusted with the way anti-CAA protesters had been behaving.

Father didn’t say one word to Paul after he got bad grades in school because he was absolutely disgusted with him.

Disgusted that:

I’m absolutely disgusted that anyone should be attacked in this manner.

Wilsons were so disgusted that whatever faint chance of their granddaughter’s return is left would disappear forever.

Given all above examples, both prepositions ‘by’ and ‘with’ can fill the blank in the opening sentence while ‘at’ is less likely to work.

Hard work is telling on your health

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Tell on = The phrase ‘tell on’ in the context of the statement means ‘to have an effect that can be clearly seen, especially a bad effect’; to begin to show a negative effect that something is having on one:

She’s lately been under a lot of stress and it has begun to tell on her health.

Hours of stress, sleepless nights and the worry are really telling on Kim lately.

The increasing usage of mobile devices has begun to tell on public health.

The stress of working long hours is beginning to tell on Maria.

Now most women feel that husbands, followed closely by mothers-in-law and sisters-in-law are telling on their marriage.

 

Telling = (Adj) means to have a striking or revealing effect; significant. Telling effect, impact, comment, example, detail, etc.:

She was coming on well fitness-wise, but that gluttony had a telling effect on her waistline.

The type of content being circulated on social media has a very telling effect on the minds of our children.

 

More example sentences

Since the share of total exports has fallen drastically, it has had a telling effect on all sectors of our economy.

They need to prove the cynics wrong; but if only implemented in letter and spirit, these measures can have a telling effect.

He is determined to continue with his fight in the court that has had a telling effect on his personal life.

She had become more confident after the split-up, and this had a telling effect on her career.

She condemned the world leaders in an emotional speech at UN and it had a telling effect on the audience.

The number of Coronavirus cases is not only alarming but it has a telling effect on the global economy.

Whose vs. Of which

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Whose = Whose is the possessive form of both who and which. We use whose to refer to “animate antecedent.” “Animate” conveys living people and animals (but not plants):

 

Hot Dog whose dislike of Reggie Mantle is no secret to anyone is now coming to terms with him. 

Here “Hot Dog” is the antecedent of whose.

The plant whose roots had been submerged in water for a long time seems to be dying.  

 

So, when there’s a reference to an animal, the construction of of which seems to be weird. Then, we use ‘whose’:

 

Researchers claim that the female cheetah named Sarah, the speed of which has been timed at 100 meter dash in 5.95 seconds, is the world’s fastest land animal. (awkward)

 

Researchers claim that the female cheetah named Sarah, whose speed has been timed at 100 meter dash in 5.95 seconds, is the world’s fastest land animal.  

 

Some sticklers for perfection say that we use whose to refer to animate antecedents only, but Henry Watson Fowler — perhaps the most strict, and old-fashioned counsellor on English usage termed it as a “folk-belief”.

 

Nevertheless, if you really want to avoid using whose, you may rephrase the sentence as follows:

The car whose one of the headlights was burned out met with an accident on the National highway.

Since the car’s one of the headlights was burned out, it met with an accident on the National highway.

 

Of which = When a possessive form is necessitated by a statement, of which is the part of a relative clause. Which is the relative pronoun and of is a preposition that is positioned at the beginning of the relative clause, instead of at the end:

 

The car, the wheel of which got flat, crashed into a pole.

The room, the roof of which is leaking, needs elaborate repairs.

President said that Democrats are just focusing on impeachment, the purpose of which is to win an election.

I saw a scary movie about ghosts of which I’ve forgotten the name.

 

Be careful! If your report is full of of whiches, then it is going to do no good. Although, on some particular instances, you might be able to use of which, most of the time, your sentence will look clumsy and unnatural. Most grammar books agree that of which is not a perfect substitute for whose. So, in the end, you will settle with replacing of which with whose when you needed to show possession. It is therefore grammatically correct to write:

 

President said that Democrats are just focusing on impeachment, whose purpose is to win an election.

 

Again, this statement looks weird:

President may try to come up with a proposal for the second term the time of which has come. (extremely uncommon)

President may try to come up with a proposal for the second term whose time has come.

 

In any case, it may be suggested that unless you’re sure that your sentence doesn’t sound too awkward, just keep away from using of which.

Wonder about or Wonder at

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Wonder about = If we wonder about something, we intend to do it in the future, either because we are interested in it and we want to know more about it, or because we are worried or suspicious about it:

I wonder about her attitude. She didn’t even raise a smile when I bumped into her at the market.

‘Where are you taking the kids this winter?’ ‘I’ve been wondering about going to the Golden State.’

But one must wonder about what would happen in the election.

He claimed to be walking 20 miles. Police have been wondering about him.

I think Mr. Wilson was wondering about the evidence at the trial.

 

More example sentences

 

When he started to nitpick at really silly things, then she couldn’t help but to wonder about his intentions.’

‘And I wonder about the people acquainted with Freddie who talk about how wonderful he is.’

She goes on to wonder about the rationale behind some of the things that he he’s been doing these days.’

If Jack can’t get basic stuff like this straight, we have to wonder about his reliability on other matters.’

We have to wonder about the company Frank keeps lately.

‘If Jack had stuck to a career in the movies, he would have been the bigger success, but I wonder about that.’

‘When her first promise doesn’t come through, it makes me wonder about her later promises.’

‘She began to wonder about Susan and then a photograph on the wall confirmed her worst fears.’

‘Here are the kinds of reports that make you wonder about the press these days.’

Police commissioner wondered about this as it began to seem more than mere accident.

 

Wonder at = If we wonder at something, we are very surprised about it or think about it in a very surprised way:

 

She walked off the party in a huff and wondered at all that had happened.

I wondered at his ability never to be the slightest upset in front of the traffic police.

We can only wonder at such a blunder at the bank.

Susan rather wondered at the choice of Liberty State Park; why had Frank changed his mind about Statue of Liberty?

There being…

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In formal English, we use a clause with there being to introduce a reason for something. There being basically denotes something like ‘because there is’:

 

There being no evidence against him, Frank is unlikely to be convicted (= Because there is no evidence against him…)

There being no compelling documentary evidence of the human rights abuses, the country was let off lightly by the United Nations Security Council.

There being no alternative, Adams agreed to mortgage the 20-acre family farm in Cashel.

There being only one train every alternate day to the Balkans, he decided to fly.

There being a slowdown in auto sales, companies were forced to either shut down or axe shifts.

There being no strong objections to the proposal, they went ahead with approving the project.

There being no opposition from local residents, they are all set to organise the music festival in the neighbourhood park.

There being a complete shutdown of the factory, it is thought it will render many a worker jobless.

I’m good vs. I’m well

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I’m good = According to Cambridge Dictionary, ‘good’ means ‘healthy or well’: She didn’t go to the concert because she wasn’t feeling too good.How’s your father?“He’s good, thanks.” So, ‘I’m good’ is an informal way to give a general reply when someone greets you: “How are you?” “I’m good, thanks.”

 

I’m well = We commonly use ‘well’ as an adverb when something is done to a good standard or in a good way: She sings very well. He drives very well at night. We also use well as an adjective, normally after a linking verb such as be, look or get, to mean ‘in good health’:

 

A: How are you?

B: I’m very well, thanks. And you?

What’s the matter? You don’t look very well.

 

In American English, good is more common and casual than well in this context. Most authorities and grammar books say that Well and good have similar meaning, but we generally use good as an adjective and not as an adverb particularly in the context of a reply to enquiring about a person’s wellbeing.

 

If we have to draw a parallel between ‘I’m good’ and ‘I’m well’, we would say that if someone is clearly enquiring about your health, “I’m well,” can be the normal response. If you are confident about your good health, your responses can go either way; though ‘well’ can be reserved for more formal situations.

 

Here the difference can briefly be summarized:

 

I feel well.                            (excepting specifically referring to a prior illness)

I feel good.                 

 

I am feeling well.                 (excepting specifically referring to a prior illness)

I am feeling good.       

I am well.                           (excepting specifically referring to a prior illness)

I am good.                           (Here, am is a linking verb that takes an adjectival         predicate and good is that adjective.

I am doing well.         

 

I feel differently.             (excepting feeling things with one’s hands; differently from the way in which one used to feel by touching)

I feel different.                     (In the adjective form, one can be bad/different/etc. while in the adverb form, the manner of feeling can be bad/different/etc.)

 

Hence, good and well are not as tricky as you might think and the whole dispute revolved around understanding how linking verbs differ from action verbs. An action verb is a verb that describes an action, like come, go, jump, eat, kick, think, cry or smile: Emily is going to college. The action verb is going.  It describes what Emily is doing.

 

A linking verb is a verb that links the subject of the sentence to information about that subject. Linking verbs do not represent action: to be (is/ am/ are, was/ were, has been/ have been, is being/ are being, was being/ will have been, etc.)  to become (become(s)/ became, has/ have/ had become, will become, will have become, etc.)  to seem (seems/ seemed, has/ have/ had seemed, is/ are seeming, was/ were seeming, will seem etc.): The rose is pink. Here, ‘is‘ is a linking verb that connects the subject, rose, to information about that subject (that it is pink). The teacher is intelligent. Here ‘is‘ is a linking verb that connects the subject, teacher, to information about that subject (that he is intelligent).

 

Notice that we also use ‘I’m good’ to reject and to ridicule an offered good or service by feigning satiation when ‘No thank you’ will just not do.

A: Would you like to go out for a ride? The weather is so lovely!

B: ‘No, I’m good.’

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