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This is a phrase I hear extremely often, with some modifications to the subject. But it seems to be improper, because the sentence is ended with a preposition. What is the "correct" way to say this phrase?

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  • “He cannot be reasoned with” is perfectly fine in both formal and informal speech. There is a style directive which prohibits this, and its introduction was artificial, but the rule is often enforced and so people tend to think of it as a real grammatical rule (the point is that it is just a style rule). To avoid ending in a preposition, move the pronoun to the preposition, "with him" and restructure the rest 'No one can/You can't reason with him'.
    – Mitch
    Nov 30, 2011 at 13:56

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First of all, the "rule" that a sentence should not ever end with a preposition is wrong, wrong, wrong. (See Grammar Girl's article on the matter.)

Second, if you still want to avoid it, you have to recast the sentence slightly: "You cannot reason with him", or perhaps "No one can reason with him."

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  • Interesting; would "to reason with" be considered one of these 'phrasal verbs' mentioned in the article you provided? Nov 29, 2011 at 23:33
  • @Rickay: No, it is just a regular preposition. A phrasal verb is of the kind where the preposition can come at the end even in a simple sentence: she put the suitcase down. But you cannot say, she reasoned him with, not if this is the entire sentence. Nov 29, 2011 at 23:46
  • Then would it not be possible to use the passive voice with this phrase while retaining grammatical correctness? Nov 29, 2011 at 23:58
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Not everyone agrees that it is incorrect to end a sentence with a preposition. If you'd absolutely want to avoid it here though, then I would say "You cannot reason with him".

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