SoCS — Beginnings and Endings

720351BE-7122-45EB-98A7-03285D72CD92After my teachers in high school drummed it into my head that you’re never ever supposed to end a sentence with a preposition, I was shocked to find out that most language experts don’t actually abide by this so-called “rule.” Some grammar mavens even call that “rule” a myth.

What are prepositions? Actually, prepositions are some of the most frequently used words in all of English, such as of, to, for, with, on, and at. A preposition is a word or phrase that connects a noun or pronoun to a verb or adjective in a sentence.

On reflection, if the “never end a sentence with a preposition” rule is a myth, what about never starting a sentence with one? Well, it turns out that using a preposition or a prepositional phrase at the beginning of a sentence is both common and grammatically correct.

The word “after,” which is the very first word of this post, is also a preposition. And that’s a good thing because Linda G. Hill challenged us, for this week’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday, to start our post with a preposition. With that in mind, I started my post with the word “after,” which is a preposition. Yay me!

And while we’re talking about “hard and fast rules” in grammar that I was taught in high school, another was to never start a sentence with a conjunction.

Well, according to Grammar Girl, “It’s fine to start a sentence with a conjunction. And, but, and or are the three most common members of a group of words known as coordinating conjunctions. In fact, a substantial percentage of the sentences in first-rate writing begin with conjunctions.”

And with that, I’m going to end this post right now. It’s time to move on.

Fandango’s Provocative Question #36

FPQWelcome once again to Fandango’s Provocative Question. Each week I will pose what I think is a provocative question for your consideration. By provocative, I don’t mean a question that will cause annoyance or anger. Nor do I mean a question intended to arouse sexual desire or interest.

What I do mean is a question that is likely to get you to think, to be creative, and to provoke a response. Hopefully a positive response.

For this week’s provocative question, I am asking about means and ends. I have often heard people say that “the end justifies the means.” Conversely, I’ve heard others say that “the means justifies the end.” So what about you?

Do you think the end or the means is more important? Explain.

If you choose to participate, write a post with your response to the question. Once you are done, tag your post with #FPQ and create a pingback to this post if you are on WordPress. Or you can simply include a link to your post in the comments.

The issue with pingbacks not showing up seems to have been resolved, but you might check to confirm that your pingback is there. If not, please manually add your link in the comments.

SoCS — A Means to an End

20C6073F-F930-4AEA-9243-02C86A0F48B2“It’s just a means to an end, that’s all,” Ed said aloud, but more to himself than to his wife, who was sitting next to him on the sofa.

“You always use that expression and I don’t really know what you mean,” Karen responded.

“What are you, stupid or something?” Ed lashed out.

Tears began to form in Karen’s eyes. “Why do you have to say mean things like that, Ed?”

“You’re right,” Ed said softly. “I’m sorry, babe. That was a mean thing for me to say.”

“Thanks, I accept your apology,” Karen said. “Now tell me, what does a means to an end mean?”

“It means it’s something you do only to produce or achieve a desired result,” Ed explained. “It’s like when you have to work at a job you hate, but you have to do it in order to put food on the table. The job is the means and the end is that you have enough to eat.”

“Okay, I understand that, but what were you referring to just now when you said it?”

Ed sighed. “Sometimes, Karen, you gotta do what you gotta do and the end justifies the means.”

“So does that mean that a positive outcome excuses or justifies any wrongs committed in order to attain it?” Karen asked, as a concerned expression appeared on her face.

“Don’t worry, babe,” Ed said. “I’m not planning to do anything unethical, immoral, or technically illegal.”

“Then what is this means you are talking about,” Karen asked, “and to what end.”

“Well, babe, it was going to be a surprise,” Ed said, “but since you can’t seem to let this go, I’ll tell you.”

“Tell me what, Ed?”

Ed leaned in close to Karen and whispered in her ear.

Karen jumped back. “Oh my God, Ed, no!”

Written for Linda G. Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt. We are asked to use the word “mean(s)” with or without the “s,” any way we’d like.