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I got into a discussion with a friend and we're trying to figure out why we omit with when we say

I have no money to buy a bed [with]

when, grammatically, it's the same as

I have no ball to play soccer with.

In this case, having with is correct, while in the case of the first sentence, it feels weird to have with at the end of the sentence.

Also,

I have no time to study.

I have no one to study with.

Again, how would I explain why we omitted with in the first sentence? I understand why we need it in the second one though.

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It's interesting that you chose to phrase all your statements in the negative. I can't see this makes any difference to the issue of whether trailing "with" is acceptable/required or not. –  FumbleFingers Nov 15 '11 at 7:08
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3 Answers 3

I suspect that when we depart from the resource/object during the act, we feel weird to use "with". In your examples, we depart from money and time; while we do not depart from ball and "one".

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I think "use up" or "give up", rather than "depart". –  FumbleFingers Nov 15 '11 at 7:13
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Because you don't really say:

I buy a bed with money.

I play soccer with a ball.

I study with time.

Do something with something, can have two meanings:

  • I cooked my meal with a microwave oven
  • I cooked my meal with my friends

It is not weird because you are adding extra information to your action (cooking). A meal can be cooked by a steamer, or cooked alone. By saying "with a microwave oven" or "with friends", you are adding extra information to describe what were you doing.

However, saying "buy something with money" is weird because it does NOT, contextually, add any meaningful information, to better describe what were you doing. Saying "I buy a bed with my credit card." would not feel weird.

If I say:

I walk to get over there.

I hear your voice to listen to you speak.

The temperature of the cold water is very low.

It would be weird, too. It is describing something you already described.

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Actually, neither of those sentences is grammatically correct. This would be the correct way to structure them:

I have no money with which to buy a bed.

I have no ball with which to play soccer.

Regarding the second two sentences: They have different meanings. The first, "I have no time to study." is natural sounding. I suppose it would be technically correct to rephrase as:

I have no time in which to study.

but that seems forced. I'd prefer

I have no time available for studying.

or just stick with your original sentence!

The other sentence,

I have no one to study with.

should be

I have no one with whom to study.

In fact, those two sentences are almost like opposite situations: In the first, the speaker is too busy with other things to have to any time available for studying. In the second, the issue is that the speaker is alone, presumably willing to study, but requiring one or more study partners.

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