top of page

"Some people exist in our lives to point out our most minute errors" 


Winston Churchill


His old School Teacher


Winston Churchill, the great Prime Minister of the United Kingdom received an unusual letter.

The letter came from the 6th grade teacher who taught young Winston English in Elementary school.

The now very old teacher was very disappointed that his famous pupil from many years ago was flaunting a cardinal rule which was never to be broken in the English language.

In the eyes of Winston's primary school English teacher, it was sacrilege and an unthinkable act of impiety for his student, someone he personally taught English, to end a sentence with a preposition during a nationally televised speech.
What a disgrace! he thought to himself.

The old teacher was incensed. He was beside himself with indignation.

He took a pen and paper and wrote a scathing rebuke to Churchill.

When good old Winston received the letter, he pondered what the appropriate response would be to his teacher.

Winston finally figured out what he thought would be the most effective response, so he sent a reply letter to his English teacher.


The reply read:

"Sir, I am so sorry to disappoint you, especially on national television.

You are absolutely right.

A preposition is a bad word to end a sentence with."

The adroit Prime minister ended his reply with the preposition 'with'.  In his apology, he repeated the very mistake that got him in trouble in the first place.

Two things I learned from this difficult situation the prime minister faced:

First of all,

we will have people in our lives who love to remind us of the most innocuous blunders we commit.
They may seem annoying and frustrating, but they are invaluable to our long term success and development.


our response to such individuals must be crafted in a way to show respect for their position, while finding a respectful and clever way of reminding them there are bigger fishes to fry than what they are fretting about.

Winston Churchill achieved that in his response to his teacher.


He respectfully acknowledged his "egregious blunder" but made sure to commit the same blunder in his apology.

By doing so, Churchill beautifully reminded his elementary school teacher that there were bigger matters at hand such as winning the war against the Nazis rather than fretting over the ending of sentences with prepositions.

ve seen my hands and that is all that matters."

Home: Contact
bottom of page