english native speakers help - start sentence with preposition?

  1. have to do some corrections and was told by examiner that I shouldn't start sentences with prepositions, and that I should change it throughout the 300 pg document... I am told NOW, 2 weeks after I was given my list of changes, and nowhere was a comment left on that (usually in the original document somewhere a mention at least)... neither the examiner nor I are native speakers btw.

    anyway, just my mini-rant: so, what is the deal with starting a sentence with a preposition? I thought the rule is not to end the sentence with a preposition. enlighten me please...
  2. Hi there, a preposition usually indicates the temporal, spatial or logical relationship of its object to the rest of the sentence. Therefore if you start a sentence with a preposition it appears that you are in the middle of a sentence/thought. I hope that helps!
  3. My husband is an English professor, and says that it's perfectly fine to start a sentence with a preposition or a prepositional phrase. As far not ending a sentence with a preposition, that is seriousy up for debate. You see a litle over a 100 years ago, when the first English grammar books were being put together, English grammar was modeled after Latin grammar. In Latin, it is impossible to end a sentence with a preposition. Therefore, those who made up the first English grammar books thought to themselves "if it's not in Latin, then it shouldn't be in English...." It's one of the peculiarities of the English language and one of the things that English teachers continue to teach their students.
    Starting sentences: "On the waterfront, I stood and looked at the city skyline." "In the bleachers sat the fans."
  4. hm, to some extent.

    let me give you an example:
    before going home I will buy a pint of milk.

    why is this sentence not correct?
  5. thank you! I think maybe prepositions and conjunctions may have gotten mixed up there...

    oh dear, it is a bit like two blind people talking of the colour, kwim?

    I doubt I can actually address this issue without getting myself in trouble??
  6. Plus starting a sentence with a prepositional phrase is similar to starting it with a gerund (a verb used as an adjective such as "fishing is my favorite sport") and adds interest to the sentences that are being spoken or written.
  7. ^ yeah you see this is what I am thinking but i am clearly wrong about that.

    now, what do I do? suck it up and just change the most obvious or address the issue?

  8. Okay, other than the mechanics -- capitalizing the B in "before" and putting a comma after the introductory phrase "before going home" -- I honestly do not see anything terrible about the sentence. ;)

    If, however, you are in a doctoral program and your examiner is making you do these silly changes, then you're out of luck. Ph.D. programs have their little games and you're stuck in one. If the examiner says "boo" then you have to go "boo." Period. :wlae: That stinks....
  9. that is indeed the case and so I shall go on.... :wlae::roflmfao:. i have a looooong night ahead of me.

    thanks for your help!
  10. I love this thread!

    Especially because most native English speakers go into a coma when someone comes at them with terms like "object of a prepositional phrase" or "gerund".... seriously, eyes glaze over & they look at you as if you are punishing them. :roflmfao:
  11. LOL! Gerund!!!
  12. "To be or not to be..."

    It is clear that beginning a sentence with a preposition was a technique used long before present-day. There is no question that beginning a sentence with a preposition or with a gerund is not only acceptable, but - like a pp mentioned - adds texture and interest to the writing.

    Sadly, though, I do agree that sometimes one has to play the game in order to do well when someone else is grading the work. In early high school we were prohibited from using some techniques and from using sentence fragments until we had proven that we knew the rules well enough to know when we were breaking them!
  13. Lara, Honestly, I would just play the instructor's game and turn the sentence around to make it:

    I will buy a pint of milk before going home.

    Jchiara is right on its coming from Latin and its being impossible to end a sentence with a preposition in Latin, and how that evolved into English grammar. I taught them both, and always cautioned against ending sentences with a preposition. However, I sometimes find it impossible not to do it myself, so it's "Do as I say, not as I do."

    I have NEVER heard of not *starting a sentence with a preposition. There are hundreds of examples of that in great literature. If the prof has that notion though, I'd just bite the bullet and go along with it. (Well, I just did it myself by starting that last sentence with a preposition. Should have turned it around my own self. :p) Good luck!

  14. A woman from New York and a woman from Georgia were seated side by side on a plane. The woman from Georgia, being friendly and all, asked her seatmate, "So, where are you from?" The New York woman snottily replied, "I'm from a place where we know better than to end a sentence in a preposition." The woman from Georgia sat quietly for a moment, then said, "OK, so where are you from, *****?":roflmfao::roflmfao::roflmfao:
  15. Oh man...I don't have a clue about this stuff - luckily there are lots of smart tPFers who know about these sorts of things!