avoiding terminal preposition

Booth, Curtis cbooth at BENECO.COM
Tue Sep 18 14:33:21 UTC 2001

An alternative strategy is to not tie any knots at all but to just leave out
any prepositions that might be clause final or doubled because one of them
is clause final, as in this delightful example:
"One of the properties of Unicode is that the character values are in the
order a native speaker would normally type them, which is not necessarily
the order they may appear in the final rendering."

                -----Original Message-----
                From:   Arnold Zwicky [mailto:zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU]
                Sent:   Monday, September 17, 2001 4:43 PM
                To:     ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
                Subject:        avoiding terminal preposition

                i suppose that scholars of english grammar all have their
                collections of idioms and constructions that cry out for a
                clause-final stranded preposition (the usage handbooks list
a variety
                of these), as well as collections of cites where people tied
                themselves in tortured knots so as to avoid the dreaded

                here's a nice example i heard on a local show ("Minds Over
Matter") on
                the san francisco radio station KALW.  talking about a city
                one of the panelists asked, "Who is it named after?  I mean,
                whom is it named?"

                what makes the example nice is that the speaker didn't just
                from a stranded preposition to its pied-piped equivalent
                whom is it named?" - which to my ear is just awful, though
                not so bad as "After which parent does Kim take?" as a
substitute for
                "Which parent does Kim take after?", or "For what did you
eat that
                fish?" as a substitute for "What did you eat that fish
                but seems to have unconsciously perceived where that
strategy would
                lead her and shifted the preposition as well, to one that's
                acceptable in pied piping.

                arnold (zwicky at csli.stanford.edu), looking for diversions

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