3

I'm bringing this question because I'm not sure whether a preposition in the end of a sentence can be moved to the middle, especially considering prepositional verbs.

Also, I'd like to know which grammar section covers prepositional verbs in a wide approach. Please, could you give me some guidance about it?

  1. As a start, we would like to know more details about the project that you are engaged in.

This sentence sounds ok for me.

  1. As a start, we would like to know more details about the project that you are engaged.

This one sounds incomplete.

  1. As a start, we would like to know more details about the project in which you are engaged.

I'd say that it's correct, but every time I got myself in this situation of thinking something sounds good in my mother tongue, I need to ensure whether it's correct in English.

Thank you for your attention! :-)

  • 3
    #3 is perfect. #2 is incomplete, as you noted. #1 is acceptable usage. If you Google, "what is a "prepositional verb," you'll immediately get additional information and examples. I think you have a very good understanding! – Mark Hubbard May 15 '16 at 14:18
  • 3
    It isn't "moving a preposition at the end to the middle". In example (3), it is the relative pronoun which that is moved to the beginning of the relative clause, and since it is the object of a preposition, the preposition can optionally be moved with it. This is called "Pied-Piping" the preposition. It can only happen in relative clauses and questions. – John Lawler May 15 '16 at 15:07
1

It actually depends on the context of the sentence. In everyday spoken English example 1 is fine.

In professional/academic written English example 3 is, in my opinion, the best choice.

I agree that example 2 is incomplete.

1

You can always arrange the phrase so that the preposition is not at the end of the sentence, although you have to be the judge of whether the result sounds fine or overly complicated.

In fact, many would consider sentence 3 the only "correct" option, because it does not end with the preposition. In reality, the usage in #1 is completely fine, just not very formal.

Sentence 2, is ungrammatical, though. You can't just get rid of the preposition, because it then becomes the simple past tense of to engage. It would have to be something like "...the project you are currently engaging."

  • Thank you everyone! @Duars when you say that I can't just get rid of the preposition, are you referring to only prepositional verbs, right? – razmth May 17 '16 at 2:32
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    Yes @razmth ! When you use a prepositional verb (PV), you are combining a verb and a preposition to create a phrase that has a different meaning than the original verb. So if you eliminate the preposition, you still have a verb, but with its original meaning: (PV)= P+V, then (PV)-P=V. Engage is a transitive verb, but engage in is not, and has slightly different meaning. Hope that makes sense! – Duars May 17 '16 at 15:59
1

Number three is the only one that is acceptable when putting something in writing. Number one is not only okay when speaking, but is probably better, as it sounds more casual and less stuffy.

  • That's because 1&3 have both been valid English since at least early modern... but then 1 got declared bad form by some fan of Latin or something. – The Nate May 18 '16 at 19:30

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