Ok so I was watching an episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, where one of the characters made a grammar error on purpose. He said:

"Some things might come easier to you when you stop being such a perfectionist. A concept you should become familiar with."

The other character replies:

"A dangling preposition?!".

Now as a non-native speaker, I don't quite understand what the grammar error here is. For me, "becoming familiar with a concept" makes perfect sense. Why is this an erroneous sentence?

Being a duplicate: It's not a duplicate of that question, as that is about the general idea of dangling prepositions, and this was a specific one that I was not able to understand even when using the proposed duplicate answer. I know, I'm stupid.

closed as off-topic by Janus Bahs Jacquet, Edwin Ashworth, Ellie Kesselman, Nigel J, Scott Feb 18 '18 at 7:50

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    Have you tried Googling the term ‘dangling preposition’? The answer is very easily found on the very first hit that pops up. (The answer is that it’s not a grammatical error, nor even a stylistic one. The ‘perfectionist’ just doesn’t know anything about English grammar and usage.) – Janus Bahs Jacquet Feb 17 '18 at 12:10
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    Possible duplicate of When is it appropriate to end a sentence in a preposition? – Edwin Ashworth Feb 17 '18 at 13:16
  • @JanusBahsJacquet I googled it and it seemed not to be an error, that's why I asked it here. Thanks for making assumptions and being unnecessarily rude. – lte__ Feb 17 '18 at 13:36
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    If you Googled it and found that it was not an error, you should include that in the question—one of the basic requirements for asking questions here is that previous research must be included. There was nothing to indicate that you had done anything to find out what a dangling/stranded preposition is—in fact, the last sentence (the fact that you write “becoming familiar with a concept”, where the preposition is not stranded) indicated that you hadn’t—so how are we to know? I made no assumptions in my comment, nor was I rude; I merely asked and pointed to where an answer may be found. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Feb 17 '18 at 13:42
  • @JanusBahsJacquet Pointing out it was the "very first hit" is passive-aggressive. But if you need this to get you through the day: You're right and superior, and I shall never ask anything here ever again, as obviously I'm too stupid even to use Google. – lte__ Feb 17 '18 at 13:46

A preposition is said to dangle (or hang, or be stranded) when it is split from its object and placed at the end of its clause. This is common, even expected, in everyday speech, but is frowned upon in more formal registers. Without the split prepositional phrase, the form a "perfectionist" — who believes that good grammar forbids this construction in every case — would prefer is:

A concept with which you should become familiar.

When you rephrased the expression, you did not "dangle" the preposition. This would be the form expected in a prepared speech for a formal occasion or academic writing, but would likely sound stilted and unnatural in informal situations such as casual conversation in the workplace.

  • Nah, it's perfectly all right in formal registers. In fact, pied-piping prepositions is ungrammatical in many contexts, and stranding them at the end of the sentence is normal behavior for native speakers. There's no such thing as a "dangling preposition". – John Lawler Feb 17 '18 at 17:50

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