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Is the following sentence grammatically correct?

It is not feasible to dedicate attention to all the topics I would like to.

The final "to" sometimes sounds "off" to me because of the one before "dedicate", but that may just be a false impression.

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  • It is not feasible to dedicate my attention to all the topics that I would like to.
    – Mick
    Nov 20, 2016 at 0:54
  • @Mick These are obligatory? Nov 20, 2016 at 0:55
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    Not obligatory, but preferable, I would say, if you want to get it exactly right. The final "to" is OK, and if you're worried about that, you might as well have the rest.
    – Mick
    Nov 20, 2016 at 0:57
  • It probably sounds off because some people believe that a sentence shouldn't end with a preposition (an error; we all do it), or that there are two 'to's. If it bothers you, eliminate one by rephrasing, e.g. "Dedicating attention to all the topics I would like to is not feasible." Nov 20, 2016 at 1:34
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    In my experience as a copy editor, authors who go into contortions to avoid repeating a word like to in a sentence often end up with far worse sentences than they would have produced if they had just allowed their thoughts to unspool naturally.
    – Sven Yargs
    Nov 20, 2016 at 9:36

1 Answer 1

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TL;DR (too long, didn't read): The “to” is optional, and in this case, you have to reframe the sentence to remove it. Either way is grammatical by today's standards.


By today's standards, the “to” is optional. To some people, it sounds archaic, and to some people, it sounds unnecessary or off-putting. That is fine, and it is because this final “to” felt more at-home with older English, and there is a misconception that a sentence cannot end in a preposition. Let's look at your example again:

It is not feasible to dedicate attention to all the topics I would like to.

This sentence is short for:

It is not feasible to dedicate attention to all the topics I would like to dedicate attention to.

If you want to keep the same sentence structure, and still avoid the “to” at the end, you can do this:

It is not feasible to dedicate attention to all the topics to which I would like to dedicate attention.

This example just uses the word “which” to change the placement of the “to”, so it doesn't show up at the end of the sentence. Another thing that you can do, as mentioned at the top, is to omit the “to” altogether, and it is still considered gramatically correct. In this example, that can't happen, because the sentence structure suggests that you would like the topics, and not that you would like to dedicate attention to the topics.

It is not feasible to dedicate attention to all the topics I would like.

A solution is to reframe the sentence:

I would like to dedicate attention to more topics than is feasible.

This again dodges the problem as to where to put the “to”, and in this case, seems less redundant, without the “to which” phrase, which may sound very archaic in today's English.

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  • I graduated from high school not too long ago, and the teachers called this a "dangling preposition", and not allowed.
    – geokavel
    Jul 28, 2017 at 4:46

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