Here is an example making sort of curious things for me

"who are customers with questions advised to speak with"

In the above sentence, what does "with" function at the end of it?

Simply, next to verb 'speak', dose this just work that say something with someone as a verb phrase?


assisting 'who' to make sure to represent a meaning who customers should ask their questions to?

and, if it is correct in the second case, is it able to be replaced by other sentences like "with whom are customers with questions advised to speak" or "who are customers with questions advised to speak to" ?

  • 1
    The function of the with in speak with X is to make speak transitive. Speak is normally an intransitive verb that doesn't take an object, but here one wants to refer to the addressee of the speech. In situations like this (look at, listen to, think about, speak with). English uses prepositions to allow a noun to function as the object of the preposition, and therefore of the verb. Prepositions in English are mostly markers of syntax, not words with regular meanings, like book. Aug 5, 2014 at 13:46
  • I would call "with" here a particle. A particle is a word whose meaning is dependent upon another. Aug 5, 2014 at 15:28
  • @JasperLocke: That would make pretty much every word a particle, unless you have very stringent tests for "meaning" and "dependent". Aug 6, 2014 at 2:35
  • @JohnLawler thanks a lot and sorry, one more thing here. Can I replace that sentence with such as "who are customers with questions advised to speak to"?
    – HyoinHa
    Aug 6, 2014 at 3:16
  • @HyoinHa: Yes, certainly. To is more common than with. Aug 6, 2014 at 3:50

1 Answer 1


As you say, "Who are customers with questions advised to speak with?" is equivalent to "With whom are customers with questions advised to speak?". The latter will be usually judged "more correct" by intellectuals, and "more pretentions" among the common men, but both mean exactly the same thing.

  • Really appreciate for leaving comment. Additionally, is the last example correct as well?
    – HyoinHa
    Aug 5, 2014 at 6:45
  • But 'Who should customers with questions speak with?' brings the preposition a little closer to the 'Who'. Aug 5, 2014 at 10:51
  • 1
    Sorry, no, it's not judged "more correct" by intellectuals. It's judged "more pretentious". Aug 5, 2014 at 13:41

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