The Ultimate “How To” Writing Book by Christopher Fielden.
Amazon: 5 starts.
Order a FREE taster PDF
BUY the Book

Follow me on Twitter.
Find me on Facebook.
My Facebook Business Page.
Connect with me on LinkedIn.
Circle me on Google.
Subscribe to my YouTube channel.

Subscribe to my mailing list

* indicates required

Ville's Preposterously Placed Prepositions Writing Challenge

Quick links on this page:

rules & submit - about the preposition challenge - read preposterously placed prepositions

Chris Fielden and Ville Nummenpaa

Chris Fielden & Ville Nummenpää, at Marble Arch in London

Welcome to Ville's Preposterously Placed Prepositions Writing Challenge. To avoid ending sentences with a preposition is common writing advice. This writing challenge invites you to end EVERY sentence in a flash fiction story with a preposition.

You can learn more further down the page, in the about the preposition challenge section.

Rules & How To Submit

Rules are simple the:

  • 100 words max
  • please include a title for your story (not included in the word count)
  • end each sentence with a preposition. Why? Because, according to some nit-pickers, you're not supposed to
  • entry fee is either £1,000,000, or £0, but nothing in between - in other words, FREE unless you're a millionaire
  • anyone can submit - it's not a competition, everyone who enters is a winner
  • 1 entry per mammal
  • no profanity please - all the writing challenges are shared with children
  • your preposition-packed prose will be published on this page
  • every time we receive 100 stories, we'll publish all of them in a book
  • profits made through anthology sales will be donated to charity
  • by submitting, you accept the terms and conditions
  • when anthologies are published, you will be involved in the book launch process
  • submit your story by filling in the comments form below or email me
  • include a short biography (40 words max) for use in the published book - if you don't supply a bio, we will be unable to publish your story
  • include 1 link (optional) to your website, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter etc.

So far, we've received 37 stories. We need 63 more to publish the anthology.

back to top

About the Preposition Writing Challenge

In the past, school children were taught that they should never end a sentence with a preposition (largely, it seems, due to rules that apply to Latin). While it is now widely accepted that ending sentences with prepositions is part of the structure of modern English, it is still important to understand when this is acceptable and when it is not.

In this challenge, we ask you to place your prepositions preposterously and end EVERY sentence with one. The aim is to help writers better understand sentence structure and the correct use of grammar.

There are lots of useful resources to help you with this challenge. I found this one the most comprehensive:

  • A free eBook, containing English prepositions lists, written by Josef Essberger, which provides explanations, examples, exercises and more

These links are also very helpful:

And finally, Ville suggested sharing this.

Winston Churchill

Sir Winton Churchill, giving the preposition writing challenge his official endorsement

After one of the sentences in a speech Churchill had written was badly edited so it didn't end with a preposition, Churchill is reputed to have said,

"This is the sort of English up with which I will not put."

True or not, it made me smile

back to top

About the Charity the Preposition Writing Challenge Supports

Proceeds from sales of the preposition writing challenge anthologies will be donated to Caring In Bristol.

Caring in Bristol

Caring in Bristol is a charity working to deliver support to homeless and vulnerable people in the city of Bristol in the UK. They also produce the Survival Handbook - a book designed to be a point of reference for anyone finding themselves homeless in the Bristol area.

Money raised by this writing challenge will go directly to that project, helping to finance printing and distribution of the books to the people who need them.

I've done some creative writing workshops with Caring in Bristol via the Arkbound Foundation charity, of which I am a trustee. In the workshops, we encourage people with direct experiences of homelessness to contribute to the Survival Handbook. It's an amazing project and one that I feel very passionate about.

Ville kindly agreed to support this project with his writing challenge. Thanks Ville, you legend.

How The Preposition Writing Challenge Came To Be

Ville and I have liaised by email for a variety of reasons over the last few years. Ville has entered the To Hull And Back short story competition. He's submitted to many of the writing challenges run on this website. He and I both share a love of comedy, particularly Monty Python. And music, particularly Iron Maiden. And... I could go on. I won't.

When suggesting the challenge to me, Ville said:

An idea for a challenge: Ending sentences with prepositions-frenzy... ...I have always resented that 'rule', never to end a sentence with a preposition.

I keep hearing about that, and get the feeling it's just a very snobbish, intellectual-bully sort of thing, and it wakes up the little anarchist in me.

The idea appealed to me. And so, here the challenge is (see what I did there? I know, subtle...).

Here are a few more details about Ville and why he suggested the challenge:

My name is Ville, a has-been musician wanna-be. One of those rock stars who are neither rich nor famous. These days, I make ends meet as a writer.

In 2015 I took a leap of faith, and quit canning beer at a brewery to pursue a career in writing. Being a family guy, this was a bit of a risk, but it seems to have paid off. There is now a stage play in development and I´m currently finishing a complete TV-series of my own concept. I get some short stories published on occasion too, but there is always time to mess with English grammar (despite being Finnish, and lacking any kind of qualifications or credentials for doing so).

Since Chris is doing this awesome stuff on his site, it seemed like a golden opportunity to pitch an idea for a challenge. To my astonishment, he took the bait and here we are. Huge cheers to Chris, who is obviously doing the heavy lifting here.

I truly hope you will join this anarchistic stance, which is not only a heartfelt middle finger to the snobbish (and misguided) grammar police, but might also give you a new perspective on your own writing. You might get published and, this being charity, earn yourself a shiny new halo above your head. Win-win anyone?

Big thanks to Ville. That just leaves me to say: when we receive 100 stories with terribly located prepositions, we'll publish a book. If we don't receive 100 submissions, it's a bit of fun, you can read all the stories here on the site and you now know about Caring in Bristol and the amazing work they do.

As with all the writing challenges on this site, it's impossible to lose. Everyone is a big fat winner.

back to top

Stories Overladen With Sentences Terminating With Prepositions

Below are all the stories we've received to date, stuffed with poorly placed prepositions. You may read them your computer on. Or your phone on. Or any device you favour on.

The stories are published in the order they were received.

Story 001

Bring It On

by Ville Nummenpää

What Jim was doing now was generally frowned upon. Yet he couldn't help, but to sing along. He didn't know what the lyrics were about: "There is freedom within, there is freedom without," but that had not stopped him before.

Usually, when singing karaoke, you're supposed to keep your pants on. Just one of the rules Jim was not familiar with. This could be why the majority of the people had chosen to step outside.

Jim did not care, he would pull this through, balls out. Audience or not, he would take this show to infinity and beyond…

Story 002

Observations The Wise Of, The Truth Concerning

by Christopher Fielden

"Warn him I did, listen he would not, he little brains with."

"The arrogant man sits blind, the dawn on the apocalypse of."

"Stupid – surprising, his age given."

They sipped their Chi'ffa, the moon beneath.

"He placed a wig his head atop."

"Laughed, we did, his stupidity following."

"It looked a well-combed dead ferret like."

"The force reside in a man cannot, who a terrible wig places his head atop."

"We have difficult times us ahead of."

"Hope is distant, but arrive it will, expectations contrary to."

And so concluded the 'Declaration of Great Truths', decreed the wise Yodas by.

Story 003

When No Means No

by Glen Donaldson

For as long as he could remember, unfortunately named Fergus Blanco had felt like he belonged on the outside. Not merely on the outside but, more to the point, the school-roll definition of absent. Self-belief had at some earlier time for him been atomized into vapour dust and now most days he spent feeling on a par with the mathematical symbol for minus.

"Are you OK?" a woman in a train station ticket queue asked him one day from behind.

"How about a lovely shade of no," was his almost completely ungracious reply, the inclusion of fleeting wit notwithstanding.

Story 004

The Stepmother

by Rajagopal Kaimal

He knocked as before. He was called in. This had not happened before. Mustering up courage, he opened the door and walked in.

In her world he had been mostly absent. And on her ship he had never been aboard. He had not even been near. His stepmum was waiting inside. Smiling, she looked him up and down. Then she looked around.

This had never happened before.

She looked back at him and said, "Come near."

He walked across.

She took his hands in hers and said, "I am dying inside."

Story 005

The Candidate

by Vivian Oldaker

I watched as at the hill he walked up. I followed; it was the only thing I thought of.  He had the bag – it was the one with which he was never seen without. He stopped at the broken bench and there put the package underneath.

As I continued my observations, I liked the situation less. He was nervous and that was something I knew about. It was my covert operations team and this I was now certain he could never be a member of. He was weak and therefore I couldn't let him see the house; what lay beneath.

Story 006

He Who Would Pedantic Be

by Ian Richardson

"His strength the more is..."

Without hesitation, the congregation sang on. It was you I turned to.

"Is it only me that notices the shattering of grammatical rules we should all be familiar with?"

"Let's talk about this after."

"Right from the first line, this hymn, a disaster is."

"'Pilgrim's Progress' was written in 1684, what are you saying that for?"

"They never corrected it in the 1906 revision and even changed the first line to, 'He who would valiant be'."

"'They' didn't know what 'they' were taking on. Just sing, this is what we came here for."

Story 007

Postpositions

by David Pitts

What did you bring me that book for me to be read to out of up for? That's just the kind of thing I can't put up with.

You put it on the table but now you've knocked it off of. You should have your head seen to. Or knocked in.

What do you think you're up to? What  are you getting at?

People like you  don't know where they're coming from. I don't understand how you get by. Your skill takes me in. But it also wears me out.

Story 008

Under Over Sideways Down

by Allen Ashley

This is a position I never expected to be in. To be fair, you are keeping your head up even though your knees are giving way underneath.

I make one final effort to get my leg over.

Then collapse below.

"Well," you ask, "is this something you'd like to get into?" I shake my head; side to side not up and down.

I reach across to the 'Virtual Twister' app on the big touch screen and firmly switch it off.

Story 009

Starting the Challenge

by Diane Harding

I'll enter, seeing as how in literary terms we're not supposed to.

Wikipedia has a list I can get them from.

Lots of words I usually use, so shouldn't be hard besides.

Need to gather a few things to start off.

Paper, computer, lucky gonk to play with.

Email writing friend to be involved with.

We both love words, so should be easy regardless.

I've edited lots of prepositions in the past before.

So, this time I'll just leave them in, like.

Starting now then.

Thinking, until.

Starting soon instead.

Starting tomorrow because it's better besides.

Story 010

Staying in to See What's On

by Maria DePaul

Alan called Bea to see if she wanted to go out. She wanted to stay in.

"Hey, Bea, what are you up to?"

"Just hanging around."

"Want to come over?"

"No, I just want to see what this episode is about."

"Don't you think that plot has been done before?"

"No, I just don't think that they have found the right girl for the leading man to settle down with."

"Come on. The guy's so annoying that they should kill him off."

"Maybe so, but they always think up a new plot twist to let him get by."

"As if."

Story 011

A Cagey Tale

by Clare Tivey

All aboard.

We set off.

There must have been 10 people on the boat plus.

All of us looking at the murky ocean beyond.

We knew what lay beneath.

A call from the captain, who was standing opposite. "Ready to turn about."

The choppy weather was concerning.

I was struggling to keep my breakfast down.

The usually adventurous side of me, today has let me down, courage I was noticeably without.

"So, we'll be safe inside?"

"The shark will definitely be outside?"

"With strong steel bars between?"

I picture me in the cage, shark ravenously advancing towards.

I throw up.

Story 012

Misconduct 'Off And On'

by Sandra Orellana

She entered the room and looked up. A room she was familiar with, off and on. She knew her worth and stayed for 24 hours inside. She didn't want to fuss because she had no one to speak with. She knew the rules in and out – locked inside.

She sat, she walked and looked at herself many times in the mirror in front. Ready she was. The time was near.

She heard the knock at the door like always. She opened it, without smiling, looked at him and said, "Come in."

He responded, "Your clothes – take them off ."

Story 013

Concerning A Friend Within

by Michael Rumsey

I saw his face as I drew near. He looked down. What was up? Even his voice was off.

"I've never been stuck before. I used adverbs liberally throughout. For nonsense I knew what I was up against. There's a website with my clichés on. My senses stirred above and beyond. Now my friends suggest a proposition to come up with some prepositions and I don't know what to present them with. Anyway, right now, that's where I'm at."

For years I helped him pull through. But that could be over. I had no idea what he was on about.

Story 014

Boom Boom, Bang Bang

by Lesley Anne Truchet

The drums from my neighbour's flat throbbed in my head and below.

I pummelled on his door opposite. "I'm trying to sleep, keep the bloody noise down."

He gave me a handsome stare, considering.

I cussed and left, then snuggled back into the bed, my warm quilt all around.

A pounding on my door from without.

Furious, I sprang up and opened the door – he was outside.

"Happy now I've cut the noise out?"

I laughed, despite myself. "Come in."

After we shared a beer – the title will tell what we were about.

Story 015

Of Vigour Notwithstanding

by Scott Loren

Into Applesaucemacaroniland, Lucinda and Verena came; nestled as they were with it in Mont-BS-Minor and Mont-BS-Major betwixt. Midway afore the vales and dales of Mont-BS-Major lay the felicitous trail they'd hoped to happen upon.

"Alas, Applesauce Trail," exclamatorily spluttered out from within.

Heretofore for the two, Rainy and Lulu, had Applesauce Trail the very epitome of being Applesauce been, or rather somewhere therein, and doubtless 'twould be anon there upon. The earthen path skirted by wild grasses and flowers hither and thither along, producing on occasion sitting-stones unshorn should wanderers together a rest require; an intoxicating air of vigour notwithstanding.

Story 016

Do The Brexit Shuffle

by Len Saculla

Get on up,

Get on down,

Keep going all around.

 

First we're in,

Then we're out,

Keep shaking it all about.

 

Here it's all over,

There it's all over,

In, out, in,

Out, in, out.

As above, so below,

Come off it, come on,

Reach overhead,

Explore beneath,

 

Going around and around and around,

That's what it's all about.

Story 017

Inside Out

by Jaine Irish

The squid is stretched as a star and nailed to a wooden frame on the shore that it has recently been pulled from. The gruesome portrait is raised by the Fisherman and set to dry under the midday sun above.

Carlotta has kept her secret and spies on her lover from behind the broken shutters within. Fascinated, she watches as the salty water drips onto the hot, stinking quayside and the squid's flesh becomes transparent-like.

She spreads her fingers wide and places the palm of her hand on her swollen belly. "Soon," she murmurers to herself, "you will be out."

Story 018

Where On Earth

by Alan Pattison

It started when we were trying to decide where on holiday to go.

Sarah asked me, "What is your favourite area to enjoy?"

"It depends what I will do there."

"What are you going for?"

"Where we all can have a good time over and over."

"Not to forget who you got it from."

"Or the resort that you bought it at."

"That reminds me of the best holiday I had since."

"Your mother's funeral where you wanted to stay nearby?"

"Which no way could I get out of."

Story 019

How Fashion Trends Came To Be

by Etheray

In the land Jeanes, wearing dresses was looked down upon.

When children asked about this, adults would tell the myth used to brush annoying pests aside: "We live in Jeanes, child, so it's no question that we should always wear jeans, not silly dresses that induce falls from which you cannot get up."

There was Beth, innocent she was but mind agile. She gathered long leaves, bound them with rope and dressed up. Jeans she wore underneath. "Perhaps this'll do?" she quipped. "Not really a dress, but looks better than before."

And all fashion trends began from that day onwards.

Story 020

Getting The Message Across

by Pam Keevil

I leaned on the narrow rail and stared at the water, churning below. I felt in my pocket for the small box and pulled it out. The sapphire and diamond ring on its blue velvet-cushion was all he'd left behind.

One small throw and the final reminder of what he'd done would be long past. Except that was for the coward within. I already had ambition and with enough cash, I'd not go under.

Once ashore, I found a pawn shop. Revenge would follow soon after. I went inside. A glass of champagne was called for.

Story 021

The Crazy Train

by Margee Unger

All aboard. Bring all of your thoughts, dreams, and imaginary friends inside. We are about to partake on a journey that will change your life around.

The ride is free to go to infinity and beyond. Please watch your step and to the front go toward. Find a seat and a friend beside.

Have your ticket ready and the conductor will be by. Your whole life story will be stored in the past. We will show you all of the things you will leave behind. Your mind will play tricks as you are going to and from.

Story 022

Illumination

by Susanne Rowell

Jack switches the light off.

For heavens sake, this shouldn't be on. What on earth is this about? Every morning when I wake up, something has switched the front-room lamp on. I must find out what's going on. Perhaps there is a ghost around?

Next evening he scans the room, pondering, decides on the bookshelf and places the camera on top. He goes to bed and finally drifts away.

In the morning the camera reveals what it's all about. He is sleepwalking around. So now at night, he leaves the lamp on, so the next morning, it is switched off.

Story 023

Escape Beyond

by Josie Gowler

The dictator breathes less. Then he dies, all his security measures notwithstanding. His eyes now stare blindly up. Assassin's job done, I have a serious face but I smile underneath.

In his office, I strike a match and a curl of smoke rises about. A useful distraction within. The staircase's lights flickering, I sprint along.

A hail of bullets proliferates from inside. I dodge through the door and onto the roof outside.  Flinging myself at the helicopter's dangling rope, I haul myself up.

The beat of chopper blades, and I've achieved my escape beyond.

Story 024

Mary Christmas

by Prajith Menon

"Mary, Christmas is all around. Shall I invite Uncle John? He might come over."

"Our fight has just ended, are you planning to restart it?"

"No, darling, Christmas is not about how much – more important is whom you spend it with."

"For our marriage, he was the only one who stood it against. Still, I don't understand your support him for."

"He is my family, who else will I support instead of?"

"Then spend this Christmas with your beloved uncle, I am going off."

"No, Mary. All I want this Christmas is you – you were there for me all along."

Story 025

Switch The Magic Off

by Louise Burgess

Do you even know the serious issue your taking on? 

I mean, it's not just a phase you can think about after.

The book with all the ingredients wasn't even paid for.

Then again, who am I to tell you to switch the magic off.

There's nothing more I can do.

But hoping all Wizards get along is all I ever really dreamed of.

Story 026

The Foxglove Pink Suitcase

by Sue Johnson

My mother left 10 years ago, leaving me behind. She took the suitcase she was so proud of. It came from the posh shop she never usually went in. She bought a lipstick the same colour after.

Dad said foxglove pink was to blame – brown or grey were the colours to stick with. I never thought Mum would come back but today, after Dad's funeral, she returned wearing Outrageous Orange all over. My cousin Alice said, "You never know what lies beyond."

Story 027

Watermelon Lasagna

by Angela P Googh

"Watermelon lasagna," I sing quietly, my face a grin upon.

"Watermelon lasagna," with apparent gusto, I sing on and on.

My delinquency is obvious, to those I sit beside. They will not tell tales, my failure to memorise notwithstanding. Teacher will never know of my lack of practice, the term throughout. In class I am so helpful during.

The concert is over. The teacher praises us, our hard work for.

Now all that remains are our solos, 30% of our grade it is worth.

My turn arrives, my prayers despite. I sing the only song I remember, accompaniment without.

"Top of spaghetti on..."

Story 028

Officer Aboard

by Martin Strike

At dusk, the boarding plank was drawn across. The men piped the pompously-dressed Admiral aboard. His entourage of dressers and groomers were following.

He was certain the crew would find his beautifully crisp white uniform with polished gold braiding touching. He ordered that all the gunners were brought up from below.

The Admiral quickly gathered the crew around. He found the fading light concerning. How would the crew admire his finery if the sun was down? In just a few moments the last of the daylight would be gone.

The Admiral, accepting admiring cheers, thought, Thank goodness for Daylight Saving.

Story 029

It Sounded Like...

by Bridget Scrannage

A proposition, it was regarding. 

Raising money, charity because of. 

Eager, I came over. 

Whipped cream, I'm equipped with. 

His plan, I'll get aboard. 

Surprised we went as far as.

Inventive things, we got up to.

The possibilities, we were considering.

Against?

Below?

Alongside?

Inside?

Outside?

Atop?

Or all of the above?

"This is fun," he says during, "though when will writing prepositions come about?"

"I thought you wanted preposterously placed propositions – been confused throughout."

"You have," he laughs, "but complaining, I'm far from."

Story 030

Happy Ever After?

by David Silver

"Husband, I've messed up."

"As per..."

"Now YOU'VE messed up. In 'as per usual', 'per' means 'according to'. So it's superfluous to utter the word 'as'."

"You win, but why can't we be a husband-wife team without the word 'versus' in between?

"Because we're rivals in repartee and therefore don't get along."

"Anyway, wife, just now you said you'd messed up."

"Yes, I accidentally turned over two pages of my library book and couldn't fathom what the story was about."

"You should have licked your fingers before."

"Whatever, but I bet my fingers can lick your fingers – so shut up."

Story 031

A Toaster It Was

by Judy Penfold

Waiting by the lift, she was. Claire held the adapter carefully, for a careful person she was. This adapter was special, unlike the one before. It could convert her phone to operate her toaster in a room beyond. There was an event being held on the top floor where she could demonstrate so.

Claire was unsure of the reception she would get. The phone/toaster contraption was a wonderful invention in her mind, worthy of a gadget show exposé it was. Heavy footsteps behind her made her turn then.

"Sorry, that adaptor you cannot use. The power needed is well beyond."

Story 032

Rescue Mission

by Maddy Hamley

The darkness consumed everything, bright sunlight on the surface notwithstanding. The Marianas Trench – I could hardly believe I was going to dive down.

With a crackle, the radio turned on.

"This is an affair you have nothing to do with. Come back up."

No chance – I knew what the necklace was worth.

"It's dangerous, and probably futile, besides."

She'd had it when she'd last gone under. Nobody had seen it since.

"As for oxygen... there's just not enough to get by."

With trembling hands, I pulled the lever and descended into the depths below.

Story 033

The Captain Goes Absent

by Robbie Porter

The ship had sailed; the lookout was in the crow's nest above.

"Captain, the mail boat is coming alongside."

The Captain tutted, looked at his watch and ordered, "Bring us about."

The great ship responded like the lady she was, slowing down.

The lookout noticed the trail moving towards them and underneath.

"Torpedo," he exclaimed, but it was too near.

The ship shook and Smith knew that it would sink; he headed for a lifeboat and jumped inside.

"Lower away," he declared, despite the boat being of passengers a little short.

But the boat tipped over.

They all went down.

Story 034

Soft Touch Mum

by Claire Apps

"Mum, can I go abroad after?"

"You haven't got any money, you would have to save."

"I can't save, I've tried very hard in the past."

"Well, try again and this time keep it, well you know... all hidden."

"Mum, you know it wasn't my fault that I nearly went inside."

"I just don't know what you are like and what you get into."

"Well, I try my best and, besides..."

"Besides?"

"I'm your favourite offspring, please think it through."

"I don't want you to go without."

"Thanks, Mum, I'll be straight up."

Story 035

Two Guys Who Wouldn't Settle Down

by Frank Hubeny

Aliens beamed Paul up. He wondered why they left his girlfriend below. She'll find another. Then warp speed kicked in. It always kicked something in.

Elsewhere, Jack's time machine was acting up. He watched the locals gather around. They'd never seen a human before. Besides, something tasty doesn't pop into one's universe every day and that was all they were thinking of.

Paul's girlfriend, to her credit, but against her good judgment, reported him 'beamed up'.

Jack hadn't had a decent girlfriend in a dozen gravitational entanglements to worry about.  So no one bothered wasting any space-time getting him back.

Story 036

Lionel

by Betty Hattersley

The idea that Lionel Bradshaw had of running his own business was quite concerning.

Bone-idle always came across more than what he was about.

He's completely without embarrassment and extremely none professional throughout.

He never looked clean underneath.

Spending most of the time lying around scantily clad wearing worn out pants he'd slept in.

These matched his favourite vest (stained with memories of past menu's) beneath.

He lay there, all day, daydreaming, thinking another scheme up.

A major task would be actually getting off the settee, having a wash and attempting to go outside.

Story 037

The Chase

by Alan Barker

There was nothing for it, but to find the old warehouse and hide inside.

10 minutes and they were still wandering about.

From the roof, I could see them trying to enter the door below. They could not get in. I had put the bolt across. I found a tarpaulin and hid underneath. There was still no help around.

They found another door which lead outside. A shout came from beneath.

"Give up."

The voices now came from behind.

"We know you are near."

It was too late to run off. The game of hide and seek was over.

back to top

Leave your comments

Please use the form below to leave your comments. All comments will be reviewed so won't appear on the page instantly. I will not share your details with anyone else. Most recent comments appear at the bottom of the page, oldest at the top.

Your Details:

Please prove you're a human by entering the security code in the box below: 3062

Comments:

Your comments:

Clare T
This was quite tricky. Really enjoyed yours and Ville's efforts. Thanks.

Chris Fielden
Thanks, Clare :-) And thanks for submitting your fine story like :-)