Why is it a grammar error to end a question with the English word ‘at’?

Is that it?

Here’s a joke:

Harvard finally wants to defeat Yale in football and offers a full scholarship to a football star. The football star walks across the university grounds when Mother Nature calls.He sees a professor and asks him:

Hey Professor, where the bathrooms at?

The professor is outraged.Here at Hah-vid we never end our sentences with a preposition.

The football star replies, OK, so where the bathrooms at, asshole?

Many such “rules” in English are actually sheer nonsense, raised from Latin to the English language — more or less as if I force you to play football according to the rules of baseball because baseball has more FREEDOM in it (or so).

In the end, it is not a grammarerror, but a bad form that should be avoided — but that does not mean that it is generally wrong.

And why is it bad form?Ultimately because a lot of people think it’s bad shape.

Let’s take a simple example:

What are style guides for?

The sentence ends in a preposition (for).Is the sentence wrong? no. Theoretically, you can write:

For what are style guides?

… but that is not how any native speaker writes in English.After all, English is a Germanic language, and the use of prepositions at the end of the sentence is typical for Germanic languages in various forms.

The answer will not satisfy any Germans who assume a different basic expectation (Duden salutes).But that’s the way it is in English. We do not have a central authority that defines language for all. If your spelling is well received, nice. If not, then not.

There are so-called style guides that condemn the use of prepositions at the end of a sentence.But there are others who do not. Your mileage may vary. So if you are told (by the client, the editor, the publisher…) that you have to use Style Guide XY and is in the said style guide, no prepositions at the end of the sentence, then so be it. If not… knock yourself out, rock’n’roll, dudes!

That is why I say again the saying that I prefer to say in my courses: German is classical.English is jazz.

Just to add, suppose you’ve got a style guide (or an idiot as an editor or publisher) that prohibits prepositions at the end of the sentence.The example above should then be:

What is the purpose of style guides?

But whoever actually prescribes this is hammered.KISS: Keep it simple, stupid!

Read more here: Preposition stranding – Wikipedia

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