[Ads-l] Joke: Complainant says one should never end a sentence with a preposition. Rejoinder includes a terminal work like jerk or jackass

George Thompson george.thompson at NYU.EDU
Thu Mar 7 20:13:01 UTC 2019

"So, at Harvard Square, he finds a fellow with a pipe dressed in a
tweed jacket. . . "

I've been in Harvard Square many times, but have never seen a pipe wearing
a tweed jacket there.

GAT, Vice-Chairman of  the Society for the Preservation of Commas.

On Thu, Mar 7, 2019 at 1:58 PM ADSGarson O'Toole <adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com>

> I was just asked to explore a joke about prepositions, but I have not
> made much progress. Here are the two earliest instances I've seen.
> Maybe a list member can find earlier evidence.
> February 24, 1980, The Montgomery Advertiser
> [Begin excerpt]
> "Did you hear the one about the Auburn co-ed who had a blind date with
> an Alabama student? To make conversation, she asked her date, "Where
> do you go to school at?" He said he went to Alabama and that he was
> taught there never to end a sentence with a preposition. Replied the
> Auburn co-ed: "Okay, I'll change my question . . . where do you go to
> school at, meathead?"
> [End excerpt]
> May 21, 1982, Atlanta Constitution
> [Begin excerpt]
> So, at Harvard Square, he finds a fellow with a pipe dressed in a
> tweed jacket, rep tie and Gucci loafers and yells, "Hey, can you tell
> me where the Charles River's at?" The Harvard preppie replies, "My
> good man, we at Harvard never end a sentence with a preposition."
> Auburn man answers, "All right. Do you know where the Charles River's
> at, jerk?"
> [End excerpt]
> The terminal words I've seen include: jerk, jackass, meathead,
> asshole, bitch, and witch.
> Garson
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -
> https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__www.americandialect.org&d=DwIBaQ&c=slrrB7dE8n7gBJbeO0g-IQ&r=v2Wtu7DQZxSBMSJv-oEMNg&m=-xFBw3boX7jKseRp1tAzbsa8zPcQ-bKwnYbFcNFqtd0&s=IXb2inxlvkABgRHLuoMyde3wqW7D7Fs4-7R6CoEbuFc&e=

George A. Thompson
The Guy Who Still Looks Stuff Up in Books.
Author of A Documentary History of "The African Theatre", Northwestern
Univ. Pr., 1998.

But when aroused at the Trump of Doom / Ye shall start, bold kings, from
your lowly tomb. . .
L. H. Sigourney, "Burial of Mazeen", Poems.  Boston, 1827, p. 112

The Trump of Doom -- also known as The Dunghill Toadstool.  (Here's a
picture of his great-grandfather.)

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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