This is a question related to interrogative (or indirect question) clause. I thought that it is incorrect to have a preposition stranded at the end of the sentence like:

I know where she lives in.

This is also applied to the sentence containing adverbial relative clause such as:

I like the place where they live.


However, I found a sentence:

I don't know where she is travelling to/ from.

This makes me confused because of the stranded preposition. Isn't it acceptable to say:

I don't know where she is travelling?

Or are both sentences acceptable depending on the context?

  • possible duplicate of Changing subject and verb positions in statements and questions and covered elsewhere in threads addressing embedded questions. See this article at Study Zone for an introduction. Commented Aug 31, 2015 at 8:15
  • I know where she lives in is ungrammatical, not because of the terminal preposition, but because we don't use 'live in' after 'where'. I know the village she lives in is acceptable. // I don't know where she is travelling to/ from are fine, as is I don't know where she is travelling, but they all mean different things. Commented Aug 31, 2015 at 8:23

2 Answers 2


There is no grammatical rule that forbids a preposition at the end of a sentence. Sometimes it's a matter of style, and you have to decide whether the stranded preposition makes the sentence more graceful or less. Sometimes it's a matter of semantics. For instance, you would say

That is something I'm looking into.

"Looking into" is phrasal verb, so this means that you're investigating something. You can't move the preposition without changing the meaning:

That is something into which I'm looking.

This means that you're peering into some container.

In your example, suppose you have a friend who will be flying out of Heathrow Airport to Rome, and then taking an excursion to Venice. If you don't know that she'll be leaving from London, you may say:

I don't know where she is traveling from.

If you are unaware that she's taking an Italian vacation, or if you are unaware of her current itinerary in Italy, you may say

I don't know where she is traveling.

If you are ignorant of her destination in Venice, you may say

I don't know know where she is traveling to.


I know where she lives in is an unusual sentence, because normally the meaning of where includes a sense of place that's supposed to have any spatial prepositions already "built in"; phrases like on the hill or in the house are answers either to the question where or to what on/in, not to *where on/in.

I know where she lives around is a reasonably common kind of thing to hear, so is where through, and where at has currency in the vernacular, so I wouldn't be surprised to find out some people are using where in in a similar way, especially if trying to emphasize that the location will be of the form in X. But even if that's the case, there's no way that use is common enough to be viewed as standard.

I can also easily picture the phrase to live in being used with the meaning "to be a live-in domestic servant" (though I've never witnessed this use) but in that case I'd expect it to be hyphenated: I know where she lives-in.

Where to and where are both common ways to refer to a motion's destination, but where is somewhat ambiguous, as it can also mean a location that contains the entire motion.

(We also have the unambiguous word whither, but obviously that one is musty enough to heavily mark the style.)

Most importantly of all:
By broad consensus, stranded prepositions in English are fine, and have been fine since before Shakespeare. The common objections against them were a fashion of over-regulation that sadly still persists here and there, especially in the education system, but I can't remember any modern grammarian arguing against it.

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