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  1. #1
    vil is offline VIP Member
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    Default place of a preposition

    Dear teachers,

    Would you be kind enough to tell me whether there is a difference in the following sentences?

    1.1. What are you lookinhg at?
    1.2. At what are you looking?

    2.1. Whom are you looking for?
    2.2. For whom are you looking?

    3.1. Where did you get it from?
    3.2. From where did you get it?

    4.1. The house which he lives in.
    4.2. The house in which he lives.

    5.1. Ask him where he got this book from.
    5.2. Ask him from where he got this book.


    6.1. I need a pen to write with.
    6.2. I need to write with a pen.


    Thank you for your efforts.

    Regards,

    V.

  2. #2
    colloquium is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: place of a preposition

    I don't see any inherent differences in meaning. The sentences in which the prepostion takes the object seem more formal and prescriptivist, but I think that's the only real difference.

    However (I could be wrong here) but I think

    2.1. Whom are you looking for?


    is incorrect. Whom is the subject and therefore should be the subjective case (who) - whereas

    2.2. For whom are you looking?

    presents whom as an object (the object of a preposition) and must be in the objective case (whom).

  3. #3
    vil is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: place of a preposition

    Hi colloquium,

    I agree with your credible explanation as well as with your modification. I offer to your attention a settlement by compromise.

    2.1. Who(m) are you looking for?

    Regards,

    V.

  4. #4
    naomimalan is offline Member
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    Default Re: place of a preposition

    Quote Originally Posted by colloquium View Post
    However (I could be wrong here) but I think

    2.1. Whom are you looking for?

    is incorrect. Whom is the subject and therefore should be the subjective case (who) - whereas

    2.2. For whom are you looking?

    presents whom as an object (the object of a preposition) and must be in the objective case (whom).
    In fact, whom is the object in both sentences: 2.1 and 2.2. In both sentences, the subject is you.

  5. #5
    colloquium is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: place of a preposition

    Quote Originally Posted by naomimalan View Post
    In fact, whom is the object in both sentences: 2.1 and 2.2. In both sentences, the subject is you.
    I see.

    I think perhaps what I should have said is that it's okay to use who when it isn't the object of a preposition, but not when it is

    For who are you looking X.

    For whom are you looking.

    which does complicate things because, as naomimalan pointed out, whom is the object in both sentences and as such fulfils the same grammatical role in each regardless of sentence position; however the alternative who is only possible when the whom is not the direct object of the preposition.

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