What to Know
Ending a sentence with a preposition such as “with,” “of,” and “to,” is permissible in the English language. There are theories that the false rule originates with the early usage guides of Joshua Poole and John Dryden, who were trying to align the language with Latin, but there is no reason to suggest ending a sentence with a preposition is wrong. Nonetheless, the idea that it is a rule is still held by many.
When one looks back over the glorious and bloodstained history of grammar and usage wars, it quickly becomes apparent that many of the things which got our ancestors in a swivet no longer bother us very much. George Fox, the founder of the Religious Society of Friends, was so upset that people were using you (instead of thou) to address a single person that in 1660 he wrote an entire book about it. “Is he not a Novice,” Fox wrote, “and Unmannerly, and an Ideot, and a Fool, that speaks You to one, which is not to be spoken to a singular, but to many?” The rest of us have pretty much moved on.
And then there are some prohibitions which have a curiously tenacious ability to stick around (such as not beginning a sentence with and), in defiance of common sense, grammar experts, and the way that actual people use the English language. Perhaps the most notable example of such is the rule against ending a sentence with a preposition (also known as preposition stranding, or sentence-terminal prepositions, for those of you who would like to impress/alienate your friends).
Where did this rule come from?