Hello. I have been searching for an answer to this question, and I stumbled upon your site amongst others on Google. Since I have been unable to find an answer yet, I thought someone here might have the answer that I seek.

My question is such. I know that sentences can't properly end with a preposition. For example, the correct way to say, "Where are you going to?" would be "To where are you going?" In any event, my issue comes up with prepositions (at least, I think they are prepositions) such as thereof, thereform, thereon, etc. The only way I have heard and used these words are at the ends of sentences (..., or lack thereof; ... used therefrom, etc). So, what is the grammatically correct way to use these words? And if they are not prepositions, what are they?

Thanks for you help.
Hello Emotion: smile
The words thereabouts, therein, thereof, thereby, thereafter, therefore, thereon, etc. are adverbs and, I must add, rather formal adverbs. Some of these are used in legal matters. Most of these are fairly 'mobile' within the sentence, the most common positions being initial and final.

You can end a sentence with a preposition, there is nothing wrong with it. I'm not a native speaker of English and, when I started to study English many many years ago, I was told that prepositions didn't really look right at the end of a sentence. As time passed, I found out that was not so. It is said that a sentence will look more 'formal' without a preposition at the end, so it may all come down to a matter of style/register.

"Where are you going to?" is correct. However, I personally don't see the need to use "to" either at the end or at the beginning of the question. To me, "Where are you going?" is explicit enough.

Some time ago, someone posted here, as an example of this question whether prepositions at the end of a sentence is right or wrong, a remark attributed to W. Churchill. There are different 'versions' of this anecdote, and the following is the one I found at www.winstinchuchill.org:

"After receiving a Minute issued by a priggish civil servant, objecting to the ending of a sentence with a preposition and the use of a dangling participle in official documents, Churchill red-pencilled in the margin: 'This is the sort of pedantry up with which I will not put.'"

I hope it helps.

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As a linguist, I would say that it depends on the context in which you are trying to speak. In writing, especially formal writing, it is best to use what is called "prescriptive grammar (prescribing a way in which someone should speak)," which means "correct grammar." However, the prescriptive rules are more or less arbitrarily chosen. The rule that prepositions cannot end a sentence comes from Latin (the same rules apply in Spanish and other Latin based languages). We do not speak Latin last time I checked, but someone sometime ago chose to include that rule to sound more "classical" and proper. How people speak in reality is called "descriptive grammar (describing the way people do speak)." In other words, if you speak and someone understands what you are saying, you "spoke correctly." In non-legal or non-formal speech, there is no need to follow prescriptive grammar. In fact, it can make you look ridiculous at best and pompous at worst. However, in writing, it is best to stick to prescriptive grammar because, socially, you can look "uneducated" if you do not. Although, I disagree with that notion. If you are writing anything other than a formal document or an application, I text like I speak.

I hope you realize that you are joining a discussion that took place in 2004. Your post may still help someone else who comes across this discussion, but the original people are usually long gone.

Anyway, thanks for getting involved. I hope you'll stick around.


Oh, I know. I had the same original question as the person from 2004. It was mainly the other issues they were mentioning that I was addressing. If, in 2020, I am asking this question, I'm sure there are others who could see and benefit from a little extra info.


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I'm here in 2020 regarding the original question. All info and suggestions are helpful. Thanks Charlie.

Well done!