Submitted by Astartes  •  October 7, 2011

Prepositions at the end of a clause

I have an ear for when people use bad grammar, especially the use of prepositions at the end of a clause. I was recently watching a show, however, and a character said “Toys are meant to be played with.” What is the correct wording of this phrase? It is killing me.

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On his 70th birthday, a man was given a gift certificate from his wife.
The certificate was for a consultation with an Indian medicine man living on a nearby reservation who was rumored to have a simple cure for erectile dysfunction!
The husband went to the reservation and saw the medicine man.
The old Indian gave him a potion and with a grip on his shoulder warned,
"This is a powerful medicine. You take only a teaspoonful, and then say, '1-2-3'. When you do, you will become more manly than you have ever been in your life, and you can perform for as long as you want. "
The man thanked the old Indian and as he walked away, he turned and asked, "How do I stop the medicine from working?"
"Your partner must say '1-2-3-4,'" the Indian responded, "but when she does, the medicine will not work again until the next full moon."
He was very eager to see if it worked so he went home, showered, shaved, took a spoonful of the medicine, and then invited his wife to join him in the bedroom. When she came in, he took off his clothes and said, "1-2-3!"
Immediately, he was the manliest of men.
His wife was excited and began throwing off her clothes, and then she asked, "What was the 1-2-3 for?"
And that, boys and girls, is why we should never end our sentences with a preposition, because we could end up with a dangling participle.

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I have heard many Americans saying things like "are you coming with?"

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evath has, I notice, committed the blunder so many do when pointlessly trying to avoid prepositions at the end of clauses and sentences. She says: "as in that last bit, which is an example of which we are speaking," which makes no grammatical sense, nor is it idiomatic. The natural way to write it would be: "as in that last bit, which is an example of what we are speaking of (or about)" In trying to shift that "of" from the end, evath has missed it out altogether. I imagine he/she meant to write: "as in that last bit, which is an example of that of which we are speaking." I would hardly call that elegant.

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Or, 'we might could do that'.

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@AnWulf
I don't think I'm a registered user, but my name appears in red.
I just discovered this website today; perhaps the rules have changed?
I appreciate your passion for language. However, I suggest you never visit Louisianna, where you'll hear such phrases as, "I use ta could!"
English is most definately a living language.

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@evath ... Well, you're written a lot and so this may ramble a bit. My binding to the net is terrible today ... I've already lost it once.

Your opinion is your opinion and that's ok. Without looking back over what has been written. It's very possible that I did go out in left field so to speak. It happens on forums since we can't see each other and get those hints of voice inflections and facial expressions that help get not only a meaning over to someone but the mood as well. We all need to be more careful online when saying something as to whether we're weening (opining) or put it out as "fact". But then we all have bad days as well.

An Anglo word for educated is onefoldly (simply) learned. He is a learned man. As for the parts of speech, yes, there are Anglo-Saxon words for them as well, but most of them are about as clear as mud since they are rooted in words that aren't brooked anymore. But nowadays they are teaching the young kids, the "naming part" (subject) and the "telling part" (predicate). You can brook forefast for prefix and afterfast or aftfast for suffix.

I can write brooking few Latinates, but too many old Anglo words would overwhelm the average reader so I must weigh them out a bit and try not to go all out. Eath, dern, bewry, umbe are all in wordbooks but if someone must look up every other word, then I might as well be writing in German!

There is no danger of Hispanics overrunning the US or Spanish taking over. Hispanic is a murky term at best anyway. Hispanic is not a race. There are many 3rd generation "Hispanics" ... Spanish surname ... that do not speak Spanish. One of my best friends is of Hispanic descent (Spanish surname) and is fluent in Spanish but his two boys can't speak it at all. Intermarriage between those with Spanish surnames and those without is common. The former governor of New Mexico ... Governor Richardson is a byspel of this.

Spanish in the US, and to an extent in Mexico, is becoming Spanglish ... el carro, el pickup, los breakers (circuit breakers), el laptop, asf. English itself is in great demand in Mexico. Most folks under 30 have had it in school and there are many, many schools set up to teach English.

Anent usage ... briefly ... many years ago as a teenager, I thought "drive-thru" was bad. That is until I looked in my wordbook and found altho, tho, and thru as variants of although, though, and through. I went to my English teacher in high school and told her that, since they were in the wordbook, from that day forth, I would be using them. I have done so thru undergraduate, graduate, and the corporate world. They have been part of reforms for over 100 years and were the preferred spellings when I was in the Army.

Tongue is a result of earlier "reforms" most of them to Latinize the spelling. The "u" to "o" was due to the script brooked at the time by the scribes ... It was befuddling to brook it "u" before "n" or "m" ... thus tung(e), munk, sum (and others) becam tong(e), monk, some. The "s" was mistakenly put in iland, the "b" put in det (came from French det but the later Latin lovers put the "b" in), and many others.

While I think of myself as a free-speller ... I brook many of the reform words ... definit instead of definite (from Latin definitus ... and the "i" is short ... don't need that "e") ... and enuff. I don't brook most of the "world voted" reforms here: http://freespeling.com/new-simpler-spelings/ ... aside from gage which is in the wordbook and makes sense ... and thru.

BTW, I do have a very long list of words that I can swap in and out. The last time I looked, it was over 30 pages long and I add words almost every day. One of the latest that I put in it was behight (to promise, to vow). I have shared it with friends who have asked for it. There are books on the subject but that is another soapbox!

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Just went back and read through every comment made after mine. Quite a few good points, all of which would be best to have with a good pint of ale in hand and a few laughs to lighten the mood... that said: On a lighter note (and pardon lack of paragraphs and some typos above) I skimmed through that list of be- words that you posted here and found that I was familiar with most of them and apply them liberally in conversation and in writing.
I love the AS tung/tounge, tunge... and those who employ it. But I still agree with Mediator: "It's all a matter of choice, but I would say that while terminal prepositions may be OK in everyday speech, I would try to avoid them while writing." There is a time and place for informality, but informality is less elegant, regardless of the origin of words. And please, this box is none too steady, so please do not attempt to kick it out from under me, hoping to 'set me in my place'... at least it isn't dangling from the end of my sentence ;-D

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AnWulf obviously took umbrage with my comment and my use of the term "real English"... however, I do believe you took it to an extreme that was not intended, and that may be my own fault for not having put it within quotation marks "to begin with." (as in that last bit, which is an example of which we are speaking.) What I meant by "real English" means out of the idiomatic which can't be understood culturally by outsiders. So if I say "I will run for office" someone who speaks another language, taking my words literally, might think I was going out for a run. That is partly what I meant by more elegant. Beyond that (and some lovely and articulate points were made by both AnWulf and Brus), when a statement is made that has order and symmetry, it appears more elegant and "well thought out." This does not mean that latinates, in and of themselves, are more elegant. Anglo-saxon words can be elegant. If the word is the best word to use and most closely means what you are attempting to say, then it is the most elegant, most articulate and ITS ORIGIN has nothing, zero, zip, nulla, nada whatsoever to do with anything. AnWulf, you took my statement off into left field. We were talking about dangling participles and prepositions, not etymology. By the way, what are the anglo-saxon words for educated and articulate or even for preposition and participle? I think that perhaps you should make a lexicon of anglo-saxon words. You might make yourself some money from those too nationalistic to see that language is, after all, employed to communicate with others. Those "others" often dictate the trends in language and loan words to other languages. As Spanish becomes the predominant language in the U.S. and White, Anglo-Saxons become a minority, I believe we will see ever more latinate words usurping the place of words from the Anglo-Saxon lexicon... this is how the world turns. And please, do not take offense at anything I've said, or how I've said it. I should have used a word from Anglo-Saxon to begin with, so that you were not led astray from the intended point: Slang is just that and just so idioms and other parts of speech and there is a time and place for them. But poorly chosen and ill-utilized words and phrases never leave a brilliant impression. There are many places and situations, and in most of them, a more educated approach will get you farther, make more impact. I'm sure you can't deny that.

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@Hairy Scot ... Yea, someone has used my screen name as well ... If it isn't in red, then it likely isn't from me.

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Looks like some unregistered bozo has found a way to make use of registered names.
Last time this happened a lot of posts were removed.

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@Hairy Scot ... LOL ... Not a big deal to me as long as someone doesn't say, "This is myself!" ... I think I cringe at the unrightly brooking of reflexive pronouns only because folks do it when they're trying to be hyper-correct! Altho it is creeping into everyday brooking as well.

This is she ... this is her ... that's me ... that's him ... meh. I've seen all the arguments back and forth. That is someone else's pet peeve! :þ

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If you prefer "This is her" instead, "her" is being used disjunctively, as in French "C'est moi", infinitely preferable to "C'est je". Okay?

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@AnWulf
Surprised to see that you haven't climbed into the debate about "This is she".

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@Hairy Scot ... How ironic is it that the Scots have kept so many of the Old English words?! ... Many times I see word mark "obsolete or Scottish" ... or "archaic or Scottish". If it weren't for the Scots, many more Anglo-Germanic words would have been lost.

As a teenager, I had a friend's mom who would always answer the question, "Where are you at?" with "Between the a and the t" ... That has always stuck with me and reminds me that the "at" isn't needed. She didn't care about ending the sentence with a preposition ... only that the preposition wasn't needed.

I should stay off here and work on my novel! lol ... thanks

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@Anwulf
As one whose native tongue was all but eliminated by the English (the race, not the language), I would agree that evolution does not always lead to improvement.
What followed 1066 in England was repeated to a fr greater extent centuries later in Scotland: a conquered nation adopting the tongue of their latest oppressor.
As a result Gaelic is now spoken by only 1% of the adult population of Scotland.
To my eternal shame and regret, I am not one of that 1%.
**********************************************************************************************
I am not too concerned about the use of hanging prepositions or split infinitives; there are greater calumnies visited upon our common language.
I find the discussions in this forum interesting, and certainly some of your comments are quite enlightening; but it does sometimes seem difficult to avoid giving or taking offence.
Anyway, on a lighter note:-
There is a joke about a South African, lost in London, who asks a policeman, "Can you tell me where am I at?"
The cop tells him that ending a sentence with a preposition is not good English.
So he says, "OK, where am I at, c**t?".

Good luck with The Great American Novel.

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@Hairy Scot ... I'm aware of the Anglish Moot. I commend their enthusiasm even if some of their efforts have been a little wild and not thought out ... but even those make one think about things so that is good as well. OTOH, some of them are really good! There are a few sharp ones. I have even put a few ideas in the pot. I think it is a good exercise to make one think about the roots of the words and the words that we have either lost or are in danger of losing.

That is point of the Anglish Moot. It is an exercise to ed-building (ed- = re-) the Germanic wordstock. For those like me who like old words ... it's fun.

I can write with few aft-1066 Latinates but most folks would be lost. Most folks don't know the meanings of the 90+ (maybe more) words that begin with the prefix be- and would be stumped. Here a good list: http://www.dailywritingtips.com/50-words-with-t... that was put out today. Most don't know the old prefixes that are rarely seen anymore. So was that evolution of the language a good thing?

Evolution of the language is like beauty ... whether it is good or bad ... is in the eye of the beholder. I would not want to go back to OE with declension of adjectives and nouns and that they have gender. So in the eyes of a Saxon, what we have now might be an abomination both on grammar and the overuse of Latinates.

The "natural evolution" of English came to an abrupt halt in 1066. Part of that "unnatural evolution" afterwards, was the attempt by "scholars" to shoehorn English into the Latin grammar structure which gave the nonsense rules like no splitting of the infinitive and don't end a sentence with a preposition ... this just wasn't done in Latin so they thought they could "raise" the level of English by imposing some of the rules on English.

There were once more flat adverbs ... now not so many ... is that good or bad? I don't know. But if one choose to use an adverb "flatly", I don't get bent out of shape over it.

There were once many more strong verbs and many have become weak ... is that good or bad? I don't know. I like strong verbs and will likely use the strong conjugation over the weak.

The fettle of the English tung is steadily flowing ... whether it is good or bad is in the eye of the beholder!

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Since AS is your hobby I will bow to your superior knowledge.
:)

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@Mediator ... LOL ... then what would you say about "tungful"? ... That's on OE word ... care to guess?

tungful - talkative ... I know that a lot of talkative folks spout a lot of dung but somehow I don't think that is the meaning of the word.

"O.E. tunge "organ of speech, speech, language," from P.Gmc. *tungon (cf. O.S., O.N. tunga, O.Fris. tunge, M.Du. tonghe, Du. tong, O.H.G. zunga, Ger. Zunge, Goth. tuggo) ... The substitution of M.E. -o- for O.E. -u- before -m- or -n- was a ***scribal habit*** (cf. some, monk, etc.) to avoid misreading the letters in the old style hand, which jammed them together; and the spelling of the ending of the word apparently is a 14c. attempt to indicate proper pronunciation, but the result is "neither etymological nor phonetic, and is only in a very small degree historical" [OED]."

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@Anwulf
Maybe you should join the Anglish community.
As lots of posters keep saying on this forum, "Language evolves".
The concern is whether or not the evolution is good or bad.

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Tung:- Old High German
Etymology
Cognate with Old English dung, Icelandic dyngja
Noun
tung
a barn covered with dung
an underground cellar

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LOL ... It's truly onefold (simple) ... I will shove back at least as hard as I am shoved ... often harder. I'm bendable (flexible) when it comes to many things. I don't care if you brook pleaded or pled; dived or dove; sneaked or snuck. Only don't get on your soapbox and tell me (or others) that one is "wrong", "ugly", or not "elegant". I'll kick that box right out from under you.

Even more so when it is truly silly things like not ending a sentence with a preposition. I will tell you that it is silly and tell you why it is silly (and have done so above). I don't care if you want to sound dry and stilted, but if you insist that it is "wrong", "ugly", or not "elegant" for others, then I will likely have to come down on you hard ... and I will. I make no apologies for that.

The thing about writing on a forum is that it is hard to get over the mood. What I (or someone else) may write in a lighthearted ... but sarcastic ... manner might not be taken in the lighthearted way that it was ettled. And yes, I am sarcastic. I do try to hold it back but it still slips out even more so when I'm coming down on someone.

Anent the word tung ... What is it that you think that I don't know about it? Is it the spelling that you don't like or that I brook it for the Latinate word language?

OE - tunge f. (m) speech, language ... in OE likely said as tun-ge. It's one syllable now so no need for the "e" unless you want to make the 'u' long ... toong! But if you want to spell it tunge ... I'm good with that. The "tongue" is the one that needs to go.

ME - tŏng(e), also tongge, tonghe, tongue, tonke, tounge, toungue, tung(e) ... and sundry others. - The spoken or written language of a country, region, etc.; a language ... asf. The optional 'e' betokens that it was likely said as both one and two syllables ... not amazing in ME ... things were changing.

Cristen men owe moche to traueile ny3t and day aboute text of holy writ, and namely the gospel in her modir tunge.

Hise tunges ende is brent ðor-mide. (Dang ... there's that dangling preposition way back then!)

BTW ... good brooking of "gainsay"! :)

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Yes indeed, well said Valentina.

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Thank you Valentina.

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@Anwulf
You are even more close minded and dogmatic than those you accuse of being pedants. You have a lot in common with some of the present day vociferous minorities who seem to be intent only on gainsaying and ridiculing those who hold views opposed to theirs.
All languages have rules and structures and there is absolutely nothing wrong in adhering to those rules and structures. In addition most languages have formal and informal forms.
I suggest you research "tung" a little further.

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@Mediator ... If you aren't worried about "correctness" or "elegance" then why shun them?

"Toys are playthings, that are meant to be played with." There, I fixed it for ya.

"Toys are intended for play." ... Blah ... talk about stilted. Sounds like a dry lecture.

No reason to avoid prepositions at the end of a sentence. English is a Germanic tung and they sound just fine there ... whether in speech or written.

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Regardless of correctness or elegance, terminal prepositions can be easily avoided.
" “Toys are meant to be played with” could be rendered as "Toys are intended for play" or "Toys are playthings"
"This is the kind of arrant pedantry up with which I will not put" as "This is the kind of arrant pedantry that I will not tolerate."
It's all a matter of choice, but I would say that while terminal prepositions may be OK in everyday speech, I would try to avoid them while writing.

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Genius!

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Astartes, how about "Toys are things with which one is meant to play"? (Of course, it is precisely this type of stilted recasting that is to be avoided.)

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@Astartes

"The teachers need to make it clear what the rules are."

The problem is that such a set of rules does not exist in English! We have no central governing body like the French do with the Académie française (which most French speakers ignore anyway).

One important thing to realize is that every so-called "authority" or "expert" on English grammar is self-appointed... myself included.

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Alright!! I get it.

Seriously, though, thank you all for enlightening me. I was obviously misinformed. This really needs to be emphasized in schools. Some teachers say one thing, while other teachers say another. The teachers need to make it clear what the rules are.

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Have your ears checked. There is nothing wrong in ending a sentence with a preposition.

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@Brus ... Believe it or not, I don't hate latinates. I even like a few. I like the word "prey" and its kin "predator". The short latinates, like prey, when brooked sparingly, can put a little "flavor" to a writing. But when you start getting four and five-syllable words; or when most of the nouns and verbs are mainly latinates; or when some word like "excoriate" or "extricate" is brooked, that is a little much. That's just showing off or trying to benight the true meaning as in this bit:

"This specific architecture was selected largely because it utilizes an evolvable development approach, which allows NASA to address high-cost development activities early on in the program and take advantage of higher buying power before inflation erodes the available funding of a fixed budget," NASA officials wrote in a statement."

And while I "oppugn" (another one that I like) the thought that latinates are "more elegant" (nothing elegant about the quote above), I wouldn't try to cleanse them from our wordbooks. Rather, I'd like to see them listed as "archaic" and known mostly to those who need them to understand writings of days gone by.

What I want is to keep (or hain) the Anglo-Germanic words from being forsaken as not good enough; not "elegant" enough.

We're not stuck with brooking the latinates. We can always choose to brook the Anglo-Germanic word. We can even choose to ed-quicken words like gern (eager[ly]), erd (native, earth), benim (deprive), hof (I like dim-hof ... a place of concealment), asf. or make better brooking of forefasts like um-, wan-, ed-, ur-, or-, gain-, asf. before they are lost ... I chose to brook them.

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Yes Anwulf
I enjoy German, love it, performed with distinction in it at school, also its poor relation Afrikaans, which too is akin to your beloved Anglo-Saxon.
I think you are still regretting that these are not English, and English is not like these. Get over it; the Norman Conquest, the Renaissance and the Reformation changed the history of English and we are stuck with it. I like it, you do not. But wishing that English speakers would adopt your form of the language (ie leaving out all Latin-rooted vocabulary) is like asking us to all do Esperanto: daft!

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@Brus ... Half of the worldstock is latinates ... Think about that. You think that is a good thing? I think it is sad. Think of all the Anglo-Germanic words that either are no longer brooked or clinging to life as "archaic" or "obsolete".

Do you think that half of the wordstock of German is latinates? Icelandic has almost no latinates. Do you think that German scientific papers are stuffed full of latinates? You'll find a few but not near as much as in an English paper and many of those come from English.

I don't think that the newspaper writer would have made the mistake had he been using anglo-germanic words.
excoriate - to skin or in the sense to criticize - lambast
fear - AS word
exhausted - drained (or with a pre-1066 latinate ... forspent)
scattered is germanic, if you want an AS word - strewn
indulged - fulfilled, yielded to, gave in, sated, wallowed in the hunt for queem (also queme) or wyn(n).

Do you think it is good that English speakers need Latin classes so as not to make those mistakes?
Do you think it is good that folks learn despair but not wanhope?
Why add a latinate forefast to trust to make distrust when there is wantrust?
What does surrounded do that umbeset doesn't?
For that matter, umbe (around) as both a preposition and forefast um- has almost died ... umbeset, umbecast, umgang (circuit), asf ... all still in the wordbook with dust on them. Umwelt is a loanword but the um- has the same meaning.
Why is advice, advise better than rede?

"Much meatier and immediate, and usually more suitable for less formal expression than Latin-derived ones." ... This is were we split on our thoughts. This is the old wives tale that just won't die. I don't need those latinates to write in German so why do I need them to write in English? Or are they only better than AS words but German words are on an even-footing with them?

You do know that the Anglo-Saxons had a court system with lawyers? They didn't need all those Latin words! They had doctors, lawyers, and even astronomers (astronomy was tungolcraft).

You just have the mindset of nearly 1,000 years of slanting (bias) and bigotry against Anglo-Saxon words. I know its hard but you only need to reach inside yourself and get in touch with those Anglo-Germanic roots. It feels fremd at first to stop brooking the latinates but it becomes eath over time. :)

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Anwulf
you say you do not know what Latin has had to offer the English language: I reply that half its vocabulary might be the first consideration, and the one which lasts in memories of those who have learned it. (Same benefit passed on from Latin to French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian ...). And the history did us more harm than good? Maybe, but it is central to the history of Europe over the past 3000 years, so for good or ill it is madness to neglect it in the education of students, as it would be to leave out maths, history, geography, science ...
If Latin and Greek words are "grander" than Saxon ones, they should be used, and are available, when "grander" speech is called for, when it suits the occasion and is the better choice. The Norman brought some of this vocabulary with them 955 years ago, but most of it was introduced by the international interest in Romans/Latin aroused by the rediscovery of Pompeii, to give a boost to the scholarly tradition of treating Latin as the international language.
Some examples of failure to learn Latin-based words correctly: quote from today's newspaper: "I managed to dissipate his fears"(meaning dispel = drive away). Headline of a British newspaper last summer "Coruscating attack made on politician's speech" (meaning excoriating). His fears were exhausted/scattered/indulged in the pursuit of pleasure - I doubt it, and I doubt if the attack made on the speech was sparkling and dancing with light, given that it took place in the Scottish Parliament. Please suggest better Anglo-Saxon words for these!
German (cf Anglo-Saxon) is another wonderful and rich source of structure and vocabulary for us, although the vocabulary has diverged out of recognition. Much meatier and immediate, and usually more suitable for less formal expression than Latin-derived ones. Plenty of examples above, with which I have already agreed.

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@Brus ... Sometimes you must fight fire with fire. When someone puts out the mindset that latinates are more "elegant" than the anglo/germanic-root word with the same meaning, then that mindset must be stomped on ... hard!

This has been the mindset ever since the Takeover by the Norman-French, it was so in the inkhorn days and still is so now. Nearly 850 years after the Takeover, you have this:

"The every-day vocabulary of the less educated is of Old English, commonly called Anglo-Saxon, origin ..." from the opening of The Romance of Words, 1912, Chapter 1.

So 100 years after that quote, the mindset is still with us when someone says that latinates are "more elegant".

I'd like to hear what you think are the "incredibly important contribution" made by Latin is. Off the top of my head, I can't think of any great "contribution" to the English grammatical framework and far too many Anglo-Saxon words have been shoved aside. As far as "cultural importance" goes, that's another soapbox. I would put forth that it has done more harm than good.

Even tho I know a bit of Latin, I shudder at the thought of making kids learn it at school. However, I'm not gainsaid against it being a choice open to them. The other choice that should be there is Anglo-Saxon. If an English speaker going to pick a dead tongue to learn, then choose Anglo-Saxon!

I'll leave you with this:

"Bad writers, and especially scientific, political, and sociological writers, are nearly always haunted by the notion that Latin or Greek words are grander than Saxon ones, and unnecessary words like expedite, ameliorate, predict, extraneous, deracinated, clandestine, subaqueous, and hundreds of others constantly gain ground from their Anglo-Saxon numbers." George Orwell Politics and the English Language (1946)

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Anwulf makes a great virtue about the Anglo-Saxon contribution to the English language, which adds great richness to its variety, complexity and therefore difficulty, and allows each us a wide range of opportunities to express our own style, in a variety of ways. German compound verbs require that the prepositional prefix must be moved to the end of imperative clauses such as "Stehen Sie auf!". The Churchill anecdote mentioned above, which he made to illustrate the nonsense of the MP who had criticised his final prepositions, says all that.
But I disagree with Anwulf in his huffy derogatory comments on the incredibly important contribution made to English by Latin, not only in its vocabulary, but in its grammatical structure (not to mention its cultural importance, but that is another argument).
My own view is that for someone to be wholly educated in matters of the English language, the study of Latin and German when at school, to a reasonably advanced level, is invaluable.

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Toys are for playing.

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very good and convincing

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@evath ... This is not an attack on you but on the mindset of what you wrote and what it stands for.

[rant] There is nothing "more elegant" about using Latinates such as "irritated".

Latinates are not more "educated" nor do they sound more well-thought-out. This is a shibboleth by those who think they are better than others ... in other (Latinate) words - the arrogant, pretentious, and pompous. [/rant]

As for Churchill's quote, "to put up with" is a phrasal verb. If you don't like that you're welcomed to use "to thole" or "to dree".

You must translate to one of the Romance tongues since in Germanic tongues the hanging preposition is the wont. For byspel, I can say in German, “Kommst du mit?” … “Are you coming with?” Indeed, a few months ago I did a translation to German that was full of Latinates and it made it somewhat harder on me since I had to translate from Latinates to Anglo-root words and then into German. It helps that some German words such as Gemeinde, Gemeinschaft, and Geselleschaft are also loanwords in English.

English is a Germanic tongue. Trying to slam English into a box with Latin grammar rules doesn’t work. Since the days of Anglo-Saxon "real English" (your words) has had hanging prepositions:

“If music be the food of love, play on ...” William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night

“The smallest worm will turn being trodden on.” William Shakespeare, King Henry VI, Pt. III

“Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time; for that’s the stuff life is made of.” Ben Franklin, Poor Richard’s Almanac

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obviously it is not always possible to not end a sentence with a preposition, such as in the case of, "I am fed up." but in this case fed up is idiomatic and must stand as a substitute for, "I am irritated" (which would be more elegant, indeed, and sound more learned.), or "I am at the end of my rope." (also idiomatic and figurative, unless you are an acrobat who is literally at the end of their rope). So in Churchill's example, he was attempting to apply the literary rule to an idiomatic expression (put up with... doesn't that mean you were stored away up high?) and that rule does not apply to many idiomatic expressions and hence render it impossible to apply in that given case.

However, as a person who translates books and movies for a living (and having had to make sense in a different language of books riddled with idioms), I find it is easier, by far, to have to articulate into another language, phrases that opt for the more elegant approach to communicating an idea than the idiomatic way, which makes me translate twice: once into real English and then into the corresponding language) .. At least, as a translator, it makes my work much less tedious and time-consuming when the elegant is employed. On the other hand, oftentimes the character of a work would be rendered sterile, or antiseptic, if the vernacular were not employed, i.e., Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, Their Eyes Were Watching God, to name a few Classics of American literature) I say, whenever possible, that outside of your conversations with friends, and the written word which "requires" idioms be used, that one should always try to employ the more elegant (non-prepositional-ending) way of saying something. It simply sounds more educated and well-thought-out.

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I completely agree with AnWulf and Sbhall52.

However, if you insist on sticking to the mantra of not ending your sentence with a prepositioin, I think part of your problem here is that “Toys are meant to be played with" is passive. By adding the agent via a "by phrase" (e.g. by children) you could avoid "stranding" the preposition. Alternatively you could change it to "Children are meant to play with toys".

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AnWulf is correct. The proscription of sentence-ending prepositions is a shibboleth that has been tarred, feathered, and burned at the stake for HUNDREDS of years.

In the 19th century, someone (sorry, don't have time to look up the scores of references) decided it was a bad idea to end sentences with prepositions. Somehow, that caught on with way too many English teachers: There is nothing wrong with it, and never has been.

You might want to check Google or Bing for "grammar blogs" and follow a few of them: They're quite enlightening!

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Then you need to retune your ear. It's a myth that you cannot end sentences or clauses with a preposition.

The "grammarian's grammarian", H.W. Fowler, stated:

Those who lay down the universal principle that final prepositions are “inelegant” are unconsciously trying to deprive the English language of a valuable idiomatic resource, which has been used freely by all our greatest writers except those whose instinct for English idiom has been overpowered by notions of correctness derived from Latin standards.

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There you go. You're trying to impose Latin rules on a Germanic language and it just doesn't work!

To quote Churchill: This is the kind of arrant pedantry up with which I will not put.

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