The Prepositional Cloud

Posted: November 12th, 2013, 10:07 pm   By: brittany.corners

One of the word and phrase preferences for following the Midwest style guide is to avoid ending a sentence with a preposition. To successfully adhere to this, you must first have a solid understanding of what words constitute a preposition.

A preposition links nouns, phrases and pronouns to an object or event. A creative way to decide if a word is a preposition is to envision a big, white and fluffy cloud. With the cloud vividly in your mind, think of how the word relates to it. For example, you can sit on the cloud, move around the cloud, go over the cloud, go through the cloud or pass below the cloud.

In these example phrases, through, over, on, below and around are prepositions. As such, you should not use them to end a sentence. This is sometimes easier to think about than to actually do. Here are a few examples how to remove a prepostion from the end of the sentence and reword it to comply with the style guide.

Bad: That is the cloud you jumped over.
Good: That is the cloud over which you jumped.

Bad: You wish there were not so many hoops to jump through.
Good: You wish there not so many hoops through which to jump.

The second example could alternatively be corrected by adding additional information to the end of the sentence.

Good: You wish there were not so many hoops to jump through in writing for Midwest.

Attentiveness to this style requirement enhances your writing and your reputation at Midwest. So, keep the cloud firmly in your mind when you find yourself struggling to avoid sentences that end with prepositions and use creativity for alternative sentence structuring. Good luck!