I recently read in a Smithsonian newletter article titled "Most of What You Think You Know About English is Wrong," that it is okay to end a sentence with a preposition.
Excuse me? Now you are telling me this? Although I was an English major in college, I was never good at the mechanical stuff. The preposition precept is about the only rule I have a rock solid grip on. (Oh yeah, I ended that sentence with a preposition, and it felt sooooo goooood.) In fact, my fellow OSers, since this was the only standard I had, I sometimes used it to judge your offerings: "Hey, he sucks! He ended a sentence with a preposition."
I never understood what a split infinitive is and it is just a well, because this same article points out that there is no such thing in the English language. So, now I am empowered to just split away until my arms get tired.
Since a whole new highway of self-expression has been opened to me, I decided to see where it would lead to (I'm getting used to this). I located something called the English Club on the internet, and it turns out there are 150 prepositions in the English language. That's a 150 new ways I can end sentences. (They only give you 100. If you want the other fifty you have to send away for them. Seriously.)
My banana clip is now full of new English ammo and I am ready to fire away! I intend to make up for lost time and pile preposition on top of preposition like pastrami on a 25 buck deli sandwich. You think this blog is vapid and content free now? Just wait until the preposition proliferation, and I unleash new ways to pad this crap out.
Regarding outside, opposite above is underneath.
This sentence, save one tiny verb, not only ends with a preposition, but consists entirely of them. Feel free to use it, although it is hard to imagine in what context except a deep religious/philosophical discussion, or to inform your contractor of the whereabouts of the septic tank in your back yard.
I have also written what is perhaps the only blank verse poem in the language composed entirely of prepositions.
From inside without past,
Above considering concerning.
I intend to locate the cemetery where Sister Helen Frances, my fifth grade English teacher, and the one who flayed me into my fear of misplaced prepositions, is buried and recite this poem to establish once and for all if turning over in the grave is actually possible.
The article also said that it is okay to begin a sentence with a conjunction. And I have been doing just that for years and the world has not come to an end. So I should have been suspicious about the whole preposition thing.
It sort of makes you wonder who is minding the grammar store. And the answer is nobody, and that is probably a good thing for the English language.
When I was in college years ago, about the time Middle English was just catching on, I took a course in the history of the language.
We learned that English went from a primitive Germanic tongue whose vocabulary consisted pretty much of "Yo, Hilda, get me a fokking bier" to the dynamic, vocabulary-driven language it is today, because people who thought they were smart no longer spoke or wrote it.
In 1066, England was conquered by the Normans who came from France, but were actually sissified Vikings. Naturally, they brought the French language with them, along with their little foo-foo poodle dogs, and since they were running the show, everybody who was anybody spoke French. English was left to the riff-raff who picked up the ball and ran with it until Chaucer went deep and scored the winning touchdown for the English side.
The point is, the language developed as a speaker's language, because the la-di-da writers of the time wouldn't go near it. The riff-raff tossed out the rule book because they couldn't read it, and the streamlined English we use today is the result.
Then in the 18th century, the academics got ahold of it and that's when the trouble started preposition-wise, split infinitive-wise, etc. Some genius even invented diagramming a sentence.
Today, with kids coming out of school not knowing how to read or write, the language has entered a new dynamic phase as they text, tweet and blog their gibberish; the rules are breaking down once again. They are the new riff-raff, if you will.
That is my theory, but what the hell do I know of?