"at" at end of sentence

Dennis R. Preston preston at PILOT.MSU.EDU
Fri Mar 22 16:25:29 UTC 2002


Yes, that, at the grossest level, was what I had in mind, but even
among pied-pipeable preps there appear to be differences, some based
on strictly syntactic features, others on "weight" of intervening
material, etc... . A smells much better than B, for example.

A. Which drawer did I leave my book in.
B. Which drawer did I leave the interesting book that I was reading
last night just before I feel asleep in?


>At 8:35 AM -0500 3/22/02, Dennis R. Preston wrote:
>>Hardly Midwestern US. I have yet to visit an English-speaking part of
>>the world where many prepositions were not left at the ends of
>But the "gratuitous 'at'", as the article Drew Danielson cites calls
>it, of "where's it at?", is not your run of the mill garden variety
>stranded preposition.  Most stranded prepositions could alternatively
>be "pied-piped", to use the traditional Haj Rossian lingo:
>Who/What were you referring to?
>To who(m)/what were you referring?
>Which sheep are you sleeping with?
>With which sheep are you sleeping?
>Which drawer did I leave my false teeth in?
>In which drawer did I leave my false teeth?
>But such is not the case here:
>Where are my false teeth at?
>*At where are my false teeth?
>So it's not so much that the preposition "at" was left at the end of
>the sentence, it's why it was there in the first place.

Dennis R. Preston
Department of Linguistics and Languages
Michigan State University
East Lansing MI 48824-1027 USA
preston at pilot.msu.edu
Office: (517)353-0740
Fax: (517)432-2736

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