I have this statement that I do not want to end at 'for' (I read somewhere that it is improper to end at 'for').

The problem is hard as there are many sources of failures, and all would have to be accounted for.

Please suggest alternative.

  • 17
    It's perfectly, 100%? no-questions-asked, triple-guaranteed-or-your-money-back OK to end then sentence in for. If someone has a gun to your head and says "It's your prepositions or your life", you could phrase it as "... and all would have to be taken into account".
    – Dan Bron
    Nov 20, 2014 at 12:48
  • 2
    @DanBron: your likely to still get a bullet for using a passive construction anyway, so why bother?
    – oerkelens
    Nov 20, 2014 at 12:49
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    What about using "your" instead of "you're", for example "your likely to still get a bullet for using...", is that okay now? ;)
    – Marv Mills
    Nov 20, 2014 at 13:25
  • 3
    It is fine as it stands, but if you must change it, then "and we would have to account for all of them", where the agent ("we") could be changed to suit the circumstances. Nov 20, 2014 at 14:36
  • 5
    "Ending sentences with prepositions is something up with which we will not put!" Nov 20, 2014 at 15:41

8 Answers 8


You do not want to end your sentence with for because you read "somewhere" that is improper.

I will give you a place to read the opposite:

There is nothing wrong with ending a sentence with for.

This should solve your problem.

On a general note: beware of any and all (restrictive) grammar and style advises that have accumulated over the years and that tend to be:

  • incomplete
  • based on false assumptions
  • unworkable
  • out of touch with linguistic reality
  • simply wrong

Most generalized "rules" tend to fall into one or more of these categories. Famous examples include don't use the passive (given by someone who showed no understanding of passive constructions to start with) and don't split infinitives (unless they mean that you should not write wo [something else] rk).

  • 13
    This answer suggest an alternative for the ridiculous misconception that "one should not end a sentence with a preposition". Can you explain how that does not answer the question, @talmu? If someone comes to a doctor and asks for a way to amputate his leg, you criticize the doctor if he saves the leg because amputation is not necessary?
    – oerkelens
    Nov 20, 2014 at 15:39
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    @talrnu If you agree that this answer adequately explains why the question is wrong, I do not see why that is not an adequate answer to the question. If I ask you why horses have seven legs, isn't the correct answer that they have four? Or should I insist on an explanation why they have seven? Actually, if the preposition is such a problem, so should the passive construction be.
    – oerkelens
    Nov 20, 2014 at 15:49
  • 4
    @talrnu The reason for accepting an answer should be that the person who asked the question felt that it was the most helpful to them. The asker seems to think it is more helpful to be told "That rule is junk" than to be told how to rephrase the sentence with "for" in the middle instead of at the end. If this answer is not helpful to you, you should feel free to vote it down and/or vote up the other answers that you feel are more helpful. If none of the current answers are helpful to you, write your own! Nov 20, 2014 at 15:54
  • 6
    @talrnu The patient doesn't have a cough. He has been misinformed by a quack that his normal breathing sounds like a cough. A doctor prescribing any kind of medication in that case is as much a quack as the one that convinced him he had a cough.
    – oerkelens
    Nov 20, 2014 at 15:55
  • 4
    I believe we have at hand a classic XY problem. This answer seems to address the main problem, i.e., X, and talrnu is now worried that this answer does not address Y.
    – Pål GD
    Nov 20, 2014 at 16:01

It's absolutely fine as it is. The advice to avoid ending a sentence with a preposition is pretty old-fashioned and not something to be worried about. As long as it doesn't sound clumsy, just do it.

If your example still doesn't sound right to you, consider replacing 'accounted for' with 'addressed'.


Ditto those who say that "don't end a sentence with a preposition" is a rule that should be cheerfully ignored.

That said, if you are writing for a teacher or an editor who insists that you follow this rule, the conventional way to comply is to reword the sentence to say "for which", with "which" referring back to the appropriate word. In this case, " ... for all of which we would have to account". If that sentence seems awkward and harder to understand: exactly. That's why the "don't end a sentence with a preposition" rule is stupid. It forces us to make sentences that are more complex and harder to understand just to comply with an arbitrary rule.

In this case you could also do it by eliminating the passive, for example, "... and we would have to account for all of these." Or you could reword the sentence to not use a preposition, like "... and all of these would have to be considered" or "... and solutions would have to be found for all of these."

I've often had conversations, in grammar and in many other areas of life, where someone tells me that I should follow some rule, and when I ask why I should do this, they say, "But I just told you! Because it's the rule!" I ask, "But why is it a rule? What good does following this rule accomplish?" and they stare at me blankly like I'm insane, or say something like, "No, it really is the rule. See, it says so right here in this book." And they seem to honestly be unable to comprehend that the fact that somebody who called himself an expert wrote something in a book might somehow NOT be binding on all humanity for the rest of history. Of course if someone CAN give you a good reason for a rule, if they can point out how following this rules serves some good purpose, that's a different story.


As Winston Churchill allegedly said but almost certainly didn't, the idea that one should not end a sentence with a preposition is "Nonsense, up with which we should not put." The sentence is fine as it is, doubly so because "account for" is a phrasal verb and not just a random combination of a verb and a preposition.


You've asked for an alternative to your phrase. In this case, I would propose the following (using whichever pronoun is applicable in place of "we"):

"... and [we] would have to account for [anything/everything/all of it]."

While it's true that the idea "never end a sentence with a preposition" is prescriptivist, I personally prefer to avoid doing so when an alternate form can be presented without sounding clunky.


My suggested alternative =

The problem is hard because there are many sources of failure and we would need to account for each of them.

This is aside from the off-target answers counseling that you don't have to avoid ending with "for".


My preferred answer: The problem is complicated by the need to address each of many failure modes.

The problem is made harder by the need to address each of many failure causes (or "causes of failure", "sources of failure").


Hyphenate it, it should end "accounted-for". This creates a compound adjective, compare: "that is an accounted-for discrepancy".

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