Can I use the same preposition twice after the verb?

For instance:

the expectations provided for for the grade

  • There is only one preposition in the expectations provided for for the upgrade. There is no preposition whatsoever in to provide for. – tchrist Jul 25 '15 at 14:48
  • Yes. There's no grammatical bar on successive prepositions. However, OP could look for a better example because provided for is a phrasal verb as a whole, though technically it comprises of a verb and the preposition for. – Kris Jul 25 '15 at 16:06
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    @tchrist Just because it forms part of a phrasal verb, the for here does not cease to be a preposition by itself I think. See also my comment above. – Kris Jul 25 '15 at 16:07
  • @tchrist That's not correct. The phrase means "the expectations which were provided for". In that version of the sentence the object of the preposition is the word "which" - which then gets deleted along with "were" through whiz-deletion to give the OP's example. The notional object of the preposition here corresponds to "the expectations". Another way of looking at it is the Object of the preposition has become the notional Subject of a bare passive. Even in traditional grammar this would always be a preposition. Stranded prepositions are still prepositions in traditional analyses. – Araucaria Jul 25 '15 at 16:26
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    @tchrist Depends on whom you ask. If you ask Pullum et al., it's still a preposition, whether it has (or even can have) an object or not. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Jul 25 '15 at 17:23

It's perfectly grammatical to use two identical prepositions in a row. This will often happen when one of the prepositions has been stranded. This might be because the complement of the first preposition has become the subject of a passive clause:

  • Four people had been booked in in August.

Here the notional object of the first in is four people, which has become the subject of this passive sentence. The second in is the head of a prepositional phrase, in August, which is functioning as a temporal adjunct in the sentence.

It is also common to have two identical prepositions when the complement of one of the prepositions has become embroiled in a relative clause:

  • The guests whom you catered for for us, have written a very nice thank you letter.

In the sentence above the notional complement of the first for is the guests. [ More specifically,the phrase the guests serves as the antecedent for the relative pronoun whom, which in turn serves as the antecedent for the gap left by the missing complement of the word for.]

the expectations provided for for the grade

In the Original Poster's example, we interpret the object of the first preposition to be the expectations. The phrase provided for is a participle construction with a passive interpretation modifying the noun expectations. The second for is the head of the preposition phrase for the grade, which functions as an adjunct (read "adverbial") in the sentence.

The Original Poster may be wondering if it is good style as opposed to good grammar to use sentences like this where there are two identical prepositions. The answer is that if it makes your reader double-take, it's probably not a good idea. But if it scans naturally, then it isn't a problem at all. You should let your internal ear make the decision.


It depends on sentence. I don't have great grammatical knowledge,but found a reference page about repetition of words:-


Any way, there is always a chance to simplify your sentence to a avoid repetition of words.

What it is, is a travesty!?
She gives in in every case.
We realize that that will not be satisfactory.

Simpler form:-

What it is. . . is a travesty.?
She always gives in.
We realize that will not be satisfactory.
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    Rephrasing is not an answer :) – Kris Jul 25 '15 at 16:08
  • Thanks you all for your input. Most enlightening. It is not really a good phrase, it's not wrong but it is kind of awkward and could be made a lot simpler. Thanks agains. – Ed Crown Jul 27 '15 at 13:55

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