Is beginning a sentence with a preposition considered bad writing?

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  1. RyanBuda profile image88
    RyanBudaposted 11 years ago

    Is beginning a sentence with a preposition considered bad writing?

    In college, I have been given conflicting information regarding this topic. I personally love to begin sentences with words like  and, but, or...I think there are right and wrong ways to do it. Yet some professors still mark it as ungrammatical in my papers. what do you guys think?

  2. MickS profile image62
    MickSposted 11 years ago

    We can begin a sentence with a preposition. - 'With a heavy heart, Jackson picked up the revolver and...'  The rule is that we don't end sentences with prepositions.  Winston Churchil poked fun at that rule with., something like.   'That is something with which I will not put.'
    'There is a rule of grammar
    It really is a myth
    Never use a preposition
    To end a sentence with.'
    Of course, it has uses - 'He put on his coat.' would be considered correct.  Not so with, 'he put his coat on', we are waiting to know what it was that was draped with his coat.

  3. RunningDeer profile image68
    RunningDeerposted 11 years ago

    I agree with MickS.  There are different styles of writing for different types of papers.  For example, when writing a research paper for a professor, don't begin sentences with and, but, or.  However, when writing a creative piece, this is perfectly acceptable.

  4. joanwz profile image80
    joanwzposted 11 years ago

    The short answer: Yes it is bad writing, unless you have a good reason for doing so. As Running Deer says, it's acceptible if it's a creative writing piece.

  5. Mazzy Bolero profile image68
    Mazzy Boleroposted 11 years ago

    In short, no. The poet John Dryden in his old age decided to edit much of his back catalogue. For some bizarre reason, he decided prepositions didn't look good at the end of sentences, and went through all his volumes moving them somewhere else.  He obviously had nothing better to do.

    Some years later a guy decided to write an English grammar book. This was in the eighteenth century when people really wanted logical rules to govern language. This chap was actually a mathematician, so I'm not sure why he felt qualified to write an English grammar book. (Can't remember his name now, I learnt this a while back)  He got hold of Dryden's dotage decision and decided to put it in his grammar book as one of the prime rules of the English language.  People followed like sheep, as they tend to do with anyone who says anything with apparent authority, and students have been tormented with this non-existent rule ever since.

    Winston Churchill particularly objected to this.  When one of his employees "corrected" a draft speech which Churchill had written by moving the prepositions, Churchill gave it him back, having written across the page "Up with this I will not put!"

    1. Mazzy Bolero profile image68
      Mazzy Boleroposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      I apologize for this pretty stupid answer. I had not read the question properly and had assumed it was about ENDING a sentence with a preposition! Lesson is, never answer questions on Hubpages when you are half asleep!

  6. hagsvilleUSA profile image70
    hagsvilleUSAposted 11 years ago

    i've started sentences with "And" occasionally (but sparingly) in academic papers and had it be perfectly acceptable.  used appropriately, it adds a certain style and hints at a command of the language that most people don't have, but your audience has to be able to comprehend and not dismiss it at face value.

    creatively, anything goes.

  7. profile image0
    Larry Wallposted 11 years ago

    You can start a sentence with a prepositional phrase, which often means starting with a preposition. You should not end a sentence with the forbidden dangling preposition. "I found land on which to build my house." It is better sentence than "I found land to build my house on." Both convey the same message, but the first lets the prepositional phase modify the verb and the direct object. The second would not upset me, but if I was working the copy desk at a newspaper, I would change it. Beginning with "and or but" is something I have done, on rare occasions. However, those are conjunctions with but being a coordinating conjunction. Putting those words at the beginning of the sentence means you are trying to connect to the previous sentence, which is really not good. However, as I said, I have use both to begin sentences because it provided the emphasis, that I wanted to express.

  8. deeplypoetic profile image74
    deeplypoeticposted 6 years ago

    Yes.  You shouldn't end or begin a sentence with a preposition.  Beginning a sentence with a preposition usually means that your sentence is actually incomplete.


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