Prepositions at the end of clauses
A preposition often connects two things - a noun, adjective or verb that comes before it and a noun phrase or pronoun (prepositional object) that comes after it.
- He was really angry with me.
- She was looking at him.
- They live in a small village.
In some structures we may put the prepositional object at or near the beginning of a clause. This happens especially in four cases:
wh-questions: What are you looking at?
relative clauses: This is the book that I told you about.
passives: I hate being shouted at.
infinitive structures: It is a boring place to live in.
When a question word is the object of a preposition, the preposition most often comes at the end of the clause.
- Who is this present for? (For whom is this present? is extremely formal.)
- What are you looking at? (Less formal than At what are you looking?)
- Who did you go with? (Less formal than With whom did you go?)
- Where did you buy it from?
When a relative pronoun is the object of a preposition, the preposition often goes at the end of a clause.
- This is the store that I told you about. (Less formal than ... about which I told you.)
- She is the only woman (who) I have ever really been in love with. (Less formal than ... with whom I have ever really been in love.)
In passive structures, prepositions go with their verbs.
- She was operated on last night.
- I hate being shouted at.
Infinitive complements can have prepositions with them.
- She needs other children to play with.
- We need a place to live in.
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