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Consider the following sentence:

Please return the box back to the address from which you have received it.

Is the last it absolutely necessary? If not, what is the recommended style? Google seems to return both instances.

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

Yes, the last it is necessary for the sentence to make grammatical sense.

Receive, when applied to specific objects (like the box), is transitive, so it needs an object to be acted upon. You receive the box; "the box" is nicknamed it (for the purposes of this sentence; this is called anaphora), hence you receive it.

That said, it sounds much better to me to reword it:

Please return the box to the address it came from.

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Right. Which refers to the address, so it can't refer to the box. And receive does not allow its object to be deleted (or "understood"). – John Lawler Jul 7 '12 at 2:37
Back and which are superfluous and (I think) unnatural in that rewording; I think "Please return the box to the address it came from" is significantly better. – jwpat7 Jul 7 '12 at 6:30
@jwpat7 Yup, edited. – Daniel Jul 7 '12 at 14:21

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