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Pop Question


27 Feb 2011 — What for

Dare we leave a preposition at the end of the sentence?

Could you please tell me what this is for?


Could you please tell me what this is for?




Click the option(s) that improve(s) the sentence.



Can you tell me for what this is ? 






Can you please tell me what this is? 






Could you please tell me what for? 






What is this for please? 





expression (N) – Two or more words combine to form a particular meaning

phrasal verb (N) – A verb and a preposition (adverb) combine to form a particular meaning.

embedded clause (n) – One clause is placed within another clause. (A dependent clause is joined to an independent clause with a relative pronoun (who, whom, that, which what, where, etc.)




 Solution - lightbulb      Prep at End (End of the sentence)

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Is it wrong to end a sentence with a preposition?


In informal use, we let the rest of the expression be understoon from the shared context.  

In more formal English, a final preposition is not included (simpler). This is a social choice as there is no specific grammatical rule that prohibits it.

What's up?  (expression)
What are you up to? (expression)

How are you? 
What is new?   What have you been doing lately?

Where's it at?  (unnecessary preposition)

Where is it?
At which place is it?  (awkward; overly formal speech)

Where are you going to?  (unnecessary preposition)

Where are you going?   (but not going to go)
To which place are you going? (awkward; overly formal speech)

Where did you go out to(awkward use of multiple prepositions)  

Where did you go? 

I don't know where he went to. (awkward; unnecessary preposition)

I don't know where he went.  
I don't know to which place he went. (awkward; formal speech)

Related page Prep at End