Q. Dear Sir or Madam, I’m having a disagreement with a coworker on a particular subject, and as my CMOS is at home, I can’t go to it for a ruling. I’m arguing that the prohibition against ending a sentence with a preposition is an invalid injunction—one that often serves to confuse and befuddle the reader by forcing tortured and mangled word placements. She says that the “rule” must be followed. So, is it appropriate to end a sentence with a preposition? Thank you.
A. That old rule was long ago abandoned by most usage manuals and grammar police. In my own writing, I no longer try to avoid ending with a preposition. That said, when I am editing a manuscript and come across a sentence that clearly has been structured to avoid the ending preposition, I do try to leave it alone. It is possible that the author is elderly or conservative, probably is meticulous, and would be upset by the interference. Only if the result is very awkward do I suggest ending with a preposition.