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When someone purchase something from somewhere and I ask him the location of purchasing, which one is the correct question:

Where did you buy it?


Where did you buy it from?

Is preposition necessary to use in this question or there is no need to use it?

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Both are correct. The preposition changes the meaning. The two sentences are different. Think of it. :) – Kris Jan 20 '14 at 7:18

They are both correct and have a similar, if not identical, meaning. They both inquire the location of purchase.

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Is it necessary to add preposition? – Amir Jan 20 '14 at 9:10
@Amir: Please read the answer again. Thank you. – RegDwigнt Jan 20 '14 at 10:58
They're not identical. "Where did you buy it" has both "London" and "Harrods" as possible answers, while the only possible answer to "where did you buy it from" is the business that sold it to you (e.g. "Harrods"). – Peter Shor Jan 20 '14 at 14:42
I think of the second more as "WHO did you buy it from." – Eli Feb 6 '14 at 16:10
@Eli, but to that question, "Jim" and "Harrods" are both possible answers, while "Jim" is not a possible answer to either of the other two. – Jon Hanna Feb 10 '14 at 15:43

Where did you buy it? Omitting "from" from the question, does not change the question.

Where did you buy it from?

Addition of "from" - should be to indicate "asking about a specified place".

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As far as I can tell, the adverbs where, there, here seem to be from some Proto-Germanic locative case: the case that denotes the location at which an action occurs. Of course, grammatical cases work in certain ways by themselves, but have additional meanings when prepositions come into play.

Although Modern English is largely stripped of its cases, we still have little vestiges here and there.


'Where did you buy it?' means 'At which (place) did you buy it?'


'Where did you buy it from?' means 'From which (place) did you buy it?'

Evidently, both are correct. A traditional grammarian may dislike the second one for the postposition, but, since grammar is no longer part of the curriculum, only traditional grammarians know traditional grammar, and thus you have little to fear.

If you are curious, this is the traditional way of forming the second sentence:

'(From) whence did you buy it?'

But using whence in colloquial speech is tantamount to outcasting oneself.

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"from whom did you buy it" is better. It is not good to end a sentence with a preposition.

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Prepositions are perfectly fine to end sentences with. Whether it is appropriate to do so depends on the sentence and the context, as does choosing a voice or splitting an infinitive. – choster Feb 10 '14 at 15:12
"This is the sort of errant pedantry up with which I will not put." – Jon Hanna Feb 10 '14 at 15:41
@JonHanna Is it errant? My inner pedant seems to remember it as arrant. – MετάEd Feb 10 '14 at 16:31
@MετάEd it seems that both are claimed, though arrant outranks errant. Since the quote is itself apocryphal, one could make as good a claim for either, though you likely have the original. Of course, it is both arrant pedantry and errant pedantry, but its being errant is a bigger problem than its being arrant; an arrant pedant is at least correct. – Jon Hanna Feb 10 '14 at 17:27

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