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  1. #1
    High on grammar is offline Junior Member
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    Default “Stranded prepositions”

    I would really appreciate it if someone could give me a detailed answer about the stranded prepositions in the following sentences.
    What makes a preposition strandable and what makes it unstrandable?


    Which of the following are acceptable/correct and which aren’t and why?


    a. Which grammar teacher did she forget the answer in front of?
    b. Which vacation did John become ill during?
    c. Who did you destroy a picture of?
    d. I was astonished at the patience she spoke with.
    e. What do you eat salad without?
    f. What do you eat salad with?
    g. The cheerfulness which she spoke with of the sad contrasts of her life.
    h. The tone which she spoke with thrilled through me.
    i. Which vacation did John go to Hawaii during?
    j. Who did you destroy a picture of?
    k. Which act did John leave the theater after?


    Thanks

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: “Stranded prepositions”

    Is this homework?

  3. #3
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: “Stranded prepositions”

    If it's not homework, then give us your ideas first. Which do you think are correct?

  4. #4
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: “Stranded prepositions”

    Here are High on Grammar's answers:

    I really don't understand; I joined this forum to improve my English and now you guys are trying to get out of answering my question. It not only is not homework but it actually has been created by myself. That's what I do to improve my English; I create English language questions for myself in order to improve my knowledge of English grammar.

    Anyway, here is what I think.


    a. Which grammar teacher did she forget the answer in front of? correct

    b. Which vacation did John become ill during?
    not correct
    c. Who did you destroy a picture of?
    correct
    d. I was astonished at the patience she spoke with.
    not correct
    e. What do you eat salad without? not correct
    f. What do you eat salad with? correct
    g. The cheerfulness which she spoke with of the sad contrasts of her life. awkward
    h. The tone which she spoke with thrilled through me.not correct
    i. Which vacation did John go to Hawaii during?
    not correct
    j. Who did you destroy a picture of?
    correct
    k. Which act did John leave the theater after?
    correct

  5. #5
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: “Stranded prepositions”

    I will start:

    a. Which grammar teacher did she forget the answer in front of?
    Possible, but clumsy.

    b. Which vacation did John become ill during?
    Wrong for me.

    c. Who did you destroy a picture of?
    Fine

    d. I was astonished at the patience she spoke with.
    Possible, but I see little value in generating sentences that are not natural and require imaginary contexts.

    e. What do you eat salad without? not correct
    f. What do you eat salad with? correct
    Why is e) incorrect if f) is correct? You can generate an unlikely context for e), and these examples are about generating unlikely and unnatural things that could be possible, so you have to disprove e).


    I'll leave the rest to others. It's getting late here.

  6. #6
    emsr2d2's Avatar
    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: “Stranded prepositions”

    Quote Originally Posted by highongrammar

    I really don't understand; I joined this forum to improve my English and now you guys are trying to get out of answering my question. It not only is not homework but it actually has been created by myself. That's what I do to improve my English; I create English language questions for myself in order to improve my knowledge of English grammar.

    It is unfair to accuse us of trying to get out of answering questions. We happily answer questions about the English language. Unfortunately, your piece had all the hallmarks of a piece of homework - we are frequently given lists of questions to answer and it turns out that it was homework and the student hands in our work instead of their own.
    We will always ask a student to give us their answers first and then we comment.

    Regarding your original list of sentences, only G is incorrect, because it is not a complete sentence. H will be fine if you remove "through".
    Last edited by emsr2d2; 01-Jan-2013 at 14:17. Reason: typo
    Remember - correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing make posts much easier to read.

  7. #7
    emsr2d2's Avatar
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    Default Re: “Stranded prepositions”

    I've now seen Tdol's responses. Whilst I agree that b) is clunky, I wouldn't go so far as to say it's wrong.

    Which vacation did John become ill during?
    He became ill during his summer vacation.

    Which vacation did Bob break his leg during?
    He broke his leg during his winter vacation, when he went skiing.

    I would prefer it to be worded "During which vacation did John become ill?" or, more simply, "When did John become ill?" but if the answer requires someone to specify one of a list of possible vacations, then the original question is acceptable, if unlikely to be heard.
    Remember - correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing make posts much easier to read.

  8. #8
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: “Stranded prepositions”

    This one teeters into such unlikely territory that it strikes me as wrong. I can't see much point in generating 99.9999% unlikely phrases, and I would give this one a lower rating- During which/when are so much more likely that this one doesn't get a look-in for me, but that's a personal view. It might occur in speech, but that is not the area being discussed here IMO.

    Also, I would have h) down as wrong and g) as gibberish.

  9. #9
    emsr2d2's Avatar
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    Default Re: “Stranded prepositions”

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    This one teeters into such unlikely territory that it strikes me as wrong. I can't see much point in generating 99.9999% unlikely phrases, and I would give this one a lower rating- During which/when are so much more likely that this one doesn't get a look-in for me, but that's a personal view. It might occur in speech, but that is not the area being discussed here IMO.

    Also, I would have h) down as wrong and g) as gibberish.
    Fair point about the unlikelihood.

    As I said in my previous post, I agree that G is nonsense and H can only be made to make sense with the omission of the word "through".

    The tone of voice she spoke with thrilled me.
    The tone of voice with which she spoke thrilled me.
    Remember - correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing make posts much easier to read.

  10. #10
    High on grammar is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: “Stranded prepositions”

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    Fair point about the unlikelihood.

    As I said in my previous post, I agree that G is nonsense and H can only be made to make sense with the omission of the word "through".

    The tone of voice she spoke with thrilled me.
    The tone of voice with which she spoke thrilled me.



    Hello everyone:
    Happy New Year 2013.
    Thank you so very much for your answers. I really appreciate it.


    a. Which grammar teacher did she forget the answer in front of?

    A native speaker told me that (A) struck him as unnatural simply because “forgetting an answer” doesn’t collocate easily with “in front of”, but that he found “which grammar teacher did he tear up his book in front of” perfectly natural and correct.

    b. Which vacation did John become ill during?

    i. Which vacation did John go to Hawaii during?
    According to “Practical English Usage”:
    “During” can’t end a sentence. But again I was told by a couple of native speakers that “During which vacation did he become ill” sounds very stilted and that they would prefer to front ‘during” in such sentences.


    Regarding (e) and (f)
    e. what do you eat salad without?
    f. what do you eat salad with?
    Here is the answer I received from a native speaker who is apparently an English language expert (I am not sure):
    "What do you eat salad with?" is a perfectly decent question. It could be asking after either salad ingredients or salad sides. So, "I eat salad with bread" or "I eat salad with sunflower seeds and Italian dressing" would both work as answers to that question.

    "What do you eat salad without?" is a question that I would expect someone to ask only in jest or ridicule. It doesn't seem to be a straightforward, literal question about what the interlocutor does not have in or along with his salad when he eats salad.




    It seems instead to be a rhetorical question. Perhaps you have observed that your interlocutor seems to put just about everything in his salad, or
    to eat salad with all kinds of other dishes. In that context, "What do you eat your salad without?" would be a rhetorical comment (almost an exclamation) about all those other salad accoutrements, as it were. And "without" would likely be emphasized.

    d. I was astonished at the patience she spoke with.
    (d) According to “Practical English Usage”: should be: I was astonished at the patience with which she spoke
    Similarly, (h) the tone which she spoke with thrilled through me should be written as “The tone with which she spoke thrilled me”.
    But again according to some native speakers the improved version for (d) and (h) sound very stilted and therefore, most native speakers wouldn’t use them in daily conversation. My confusion is due to the fact that “ practical English Usage” mark (d) and (h) as wrong whereas native speakers find them perfectly fine.



    g. The cheerfulness which she spoke with of the sad contrasts of her lifeshould be corrected to:
    The cheerfulness with which she spoke of the sad contrasts of her life.

    Thanks again
    Last edited by High on grammar; 02-Jan-2013 at 01:29.

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