"The plane was towed out of the hangar."

"The plane was towed out the hangar."

I found myself writing that second sentence because it's shorter and seems to flow better. Does it violate any grammar rules? I can't explain my suspicions that well. It trips some grammar alarm in me. The removal of a preposition is something to be wary of I guess.

BTW, it's the narrator saying that in exposition, so I can't pass it off as colloquial speech.

And curiously, how would you diagram both sentences? The first one has two prepositions in a row.

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  • Lacking the preposition, "towed out" reverts to being a phrasal verb, which in this case is transitive (or anyway reversed in action from tow out of: being towed), so it causes the entire sentence to fail. Anyone reading it, if they didn't subconsciously "autocorrect" without noticing, would assume (or insist!) it was an error, instead of intentional. Your editor will likely balk (because he, like I, would disagree that it "flows better"). If you want to make it shorter, just drop "of the hanger". If your setting is a airfield anyway, there's not many other places it could be towed out of. – Dan Bron Jun 16 '16 at 14:51
  • Out is an intransitive preposition, like away--it doesn't take an object. You need the additional of PP to designate the origin of the towing, just as you need a to PP to designate the goal: The plane was towed out to the runway. – StoneyB Jun 16 '16 at 14:52
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    @StoneyB Stop being better at this than I am! It's like you study English grammar professionally or something. ;) – Dan Bron Jun 16 '16 at 14:53
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    @DanBron Strictly amateur, I assure you (not to say amateurish). I only know enough to put down clients who think they know more about English than me. – StoneyB Jun 16 '16 at 15:03
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    Isn't this a case of a preposition being dropped in AmE that would normally be included in BrE? Same as He jumped out the window (AmE) vs He jumped out of the window (BrE) – BillJ Jun 16 '16 at 17:32

Your second sentence, even though you could probably figure it out, doesn't technically mean much because "out" simply doesn't have the same meaning as "out of," and you need that second preposition to establish the relationship of "the hangar" to the rest of the sentence. I suggest changing it to "The plane was towed from the hangar" if you want to preserve the rhythm.

  • lol this is a simple solution, no clue why it was downvoted. I guess I'll use it since three people already agree my second sentence is wrong. – DrZ214 Jun 16 '16 at 15:28

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