Words of which few can understand

Don’t be afraid to end a sentence with a preposition. A preposition is a fine word to end a sentence with. You certainly don’t want to create the tortured prose that you’ll find on Yahoo! News just to avoid a “rule” few have heard of:

of whom few news

I guess it’s the militants of whom few have heard, but that sentence is so wacky that it’s something of which I am unsure.

A funny headline at which to laugh

Some writers are so convinced that you should never, ever end a sentence with a preposition, that they create tortured language that challenges the reader to understand their meaning. Some writers go even further, extending that grammar myth to headlines. Those writers work on the Yahoo! front page:

fp in which

Really, there’s nothing wrong with writing “The best states to live in.”

Wording for which to avoid

Oh, sweet Jesus. What happened to the writer for Yahoo! Beauty? Did she get caught up in the whole “never end a sentence with a preposition” myth? Is that the cause for this tortured and twisted statement?

choc beauty 1

Not that she couldn’t have written it without ending with a preposition: …sweet to reach for after dinner. Maybe she was trying to avoid two prepositions together. That might be a grammar myth I’ve never heard of.

Sigh. What can you expect from a writer who has interviewed Patricia Bannan and can’t get her name right here:

choc beauty 2

or here:

choc beauty 3

or here:

choc beauty 4

That kinda puts the kibosh on the credibility of the whole article, doesn’t it?

Fewer mistakes would be good

When a writer makes an effort to be excruciatingly correct the result is sometimes just the opposite. In the case of this article from Yahoo! News, it appears that the writer remembered that one uses fewer for things that can be counted, and less for mass amounts:

fewer than news

That rule, however, has exceptions: less is used before a plural noun that denotes time, money, and distance. So, the correct expression is “less than six months.” You’d also write “less than $50” and “less than 3 feet” (unless you’re writing about a three-legged dog).

On which I expound

This is the sort of tortured language that results when a writer tries to avoid ending a sentence with a preposition:

The writer for Yahoo! Movies gets points for knowing to use whom (and not who), but loses a few for capitalizing princess.


Raising Kayne

It’s a common misspelling of Kanye West’s first name, and this time it appears on Yahoo! News‘ “The Envoy”:

But a more interesting issue to raise is the writer’s oddly worded description of the Estelle/Kanye song. Why the tortured phrasing? Was it to avoid ending a clause with a preposition — as if that were a grammatical error? Why didn’t she try the more direct (and correct): “that most American viewers are familiar with”?

Tortured language for the sake of a myth

In a misguided attempt to avoid ending a sentence with a preposition, a writer on the Yahoo! front page creates one of the most tortured, twisted, and tormented captions imaginable:

on which fp

People, it is a myth that you should never end a sentence with a preposition.

In what do you believe?

When I read this question on Yahoo! Answers, I was struck by its awkward wording: 


Editors occasionally “touch up” questions that are featured on “Best of Answers.” So I checked the original question to see what was really asked. To my surprise, I discovered that the question actually was correct:


It seems that the editor reworked the question to avoid ending it with a preposition. I can only surmise that the editor holds fast to the myth that you should never, ever, ever end a sentence with a preposition. Is that a ‘rule” you adhere to?

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