On and upon

By Judy Vorfeld

Which sentence is correct: 1) There is nothing to comment on, or 2) There is nothing to comment upon.

According to Gregg Reference Manual, the prepositions “on” and “upon” are interchangeable. Gregg further says that deciding on whether or not to end a sentence with a preposition depends on the emphasis and desired effect. If your statement is informal, then why not end it in a preposition?

Strunk and White says, “The proper place in the sentence for the word or group of words that the writer desires to make most prominent is usually the end.”

Webgrammar offers the following options in order to avoid conflict:

1. If speaking to a reporter, say, “No comment.”
2. If speaking to a colleague on a debatable issue, say, “I see no reason to comment. It’s not an issue. Let’s do lunch.”
3. If speaking to a spouse, say, “I need time to think about this. Let me get back with you.” Plan on getting back to the subject sometime in the next five years.
4. If speaking to a person who has been rude, say, “I see no reason to comment. Excuse me.” Then turn and walk away.
5. If speaking to an English teacher, say, “I see nothing substantive on which to make a comment.”