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I have a bad habit of leaving ending sentences with prepositions. I'm inclined to write:

Two communities I'm working to contribute to

Is there a phrasing, and possibly a grammatical rule, that could help me out of this formulation?

Note: I found this conversation helpful, though not applicable to this case.

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  • "Two communities I'm contributing to..."
    – Roger
    Dec 10, 2014 at 21:18
  • @Roger that's an improvement, but still leaves the dangling preposition. Isn't that bad?
    – mbb
    Dec 10, 2014 at 21:26
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    Not always. Sometimes, the reworking you have to do in order to avoid ending with a preposition makes the sentence even more unreadable. Example: "Two communities to which I am contributing". The rule about ending sentences with prepositions is a bit of a dinosaur and not something to be overly concerned with (or "with which to be overly concerned"?)
    – Roger
    Dec 10, 2014 at 21:30
  • Dangling prepositions more accurately describes those that can be completely removed without changing the meaning of the sentence. "Where is the library at?", for instance, can be just "Where is the library?"
    – Roger
    Dec 10, 2014 at 21:32
  • "Two communities I am funding..."
    – Oldcat
    Dec 10, 2014 at 21:32

3 Answers 3

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The rule about ending sentences with prepositions is a bit of a dinosaur. It, along with the rule about not splitting infinitives, is an artifact left over from Latin, where such constructions are impossible.

Quite often, the reworking you have to do in order to avoid ending a sentence with a preposition makes the sentence even more unreadable. Example: "X and Y are two communities to which I am contributing" instead of "X and Y are two communities I am contributing to."

(The awkwardness of such constructions gives us the anecdote variously attributed to several people including the phrase, "This is the sort of thing up with which I shall not put.")

The ending prepositions you want to watch out for are the ones that can be completely removed without changing the meaning of the sentence. "Where is the library at?", for instance, can be just "Where is the library?"

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Inspired by Richard A. Lanham's Revising Prose mission to remove lard from the written word, I’ve found that you can often avoid the preposition-at-the-end problem by using active voice instead of passive voice.

“Two communities I am contributing to” or “Two communities to which I am contributing” can be refined and refocused to the simpler, more direct, and more efficient, “I contribute to two communities.”

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You could rephrase it as "I'm working to contribute to two communities."

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