The Grammarphobia Blog

Starting positions

Q: I keep telling my office mates about you and your website, so by association, I have become the go-to person in the office for grammar questions (how scary is that?). Here’s a question I’ve been asked that only a guru like you would know: Is it wrong to begin a sentence with a preposition? You say in Woe Is I that it’s OK to put one at the end, but what about the beginning?

A: It’s perfectly normal to begin a sentence with a preposition (a positioning word like “after,” “between,” “in,” “over,” “toward,” and “within”). In fact (or should I say “After all”?), it’s extremely common.

As you note, a preposition can go at the end of a sentence, too, contrary to what a lot of people believe. See my blog entry about putting one at the end.

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