Jane Straus - Problems with Prepositions

Problems with Prepositions

Grammar Book

Jane Straus is the author of The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation and developer of GrammarBook.com

Prepositions are words that often show direction: below, above, over, under, around, through, in, out, between, among, to, toward(s). Other common prepositions include of, for (also sometimes a conjunction), from, with, like (also sometimes a verb).

Rule 1: You shouldn’t use unnecessary prepositions.

Incorrect: Where did he go to?


Correct: Where did he go?


To is unnecessary because the meaning is clear without it.

Incorrect: I don’t know where my jacket is at.

Correct: I don’t know where my jacket is.

Incorrect: Please get the cat off of the table.

Correct: Please get the cat off the table.

Rule 2. Many of us learned that it is always incorrect to end a sentence with a preposition. This is a myth! The rule actually states that it is incorrect to end a sentence with an unnecessary preposition. Sentences may end with necessary prepositions.

Correct: That is something I cannot agree with.

Even though you could rewrite the sentence so that with does not end the sentence (That is something with which I cannot agree.), it is not incorrect to end this sentence with a preposition because it is a necessary one.


Correct: How many of you can I count on?

On is a necessary preposition. Alternately, you could write the sentence this way:

On how many of you can I count? But doesn’t this tortured phrasing to avoid ending a sentence with a preposition seem absurd?



Pop Quiz


Which sentence is correct?


  1. A. Where did you get this at?     B. Where did you get this?
  2. A. I will go later on.                    B. I will go later.
  3. A. Take your shoes off the bed.  B. Take your shoes off of the bed.
  4. A. Cut it up into small pieces.    B. Cut it into small pieces. 


Pop Quiz Answers


  1. B
  2. B
  3. A
  4. B

Jane Strauss