I have seen some complex sentences, having complex grammar of prepositions.

For example:

“T is the temperature to which the accumulated distillate stream, formed in previous effects, cools down to as it enters the flashing box.”

Why using to which?

cools down to What?

Sometimes I can't understand these kind of sentences... how can I understand and also use such sentences? Is there any reference for practice?

  • 1
    You should eliminate the second “to”; it is redundant. – James McLeod Oct 26 '18 at 9:23
  • The sentence is not for mine. I have copied it from a reference – MEng Oct 26 '18 at 9:28
  • 1
    @EnglishLearner Then you should say that you sometimes come across (or upon) with these complex sentences. When you say that you sometimes come up with them, that means you sometimes make them up yourself, which is presumably why James thought it was your own sentence. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Oct 26 '18 at 11:09

I have removed the adjectives and adverbials to clarify the structure, which is a relative phrase using the object of a preposition. "___" indicates the trace that the pronoun is moved from.

1) *"T is the temperature to which the stream cools down to ___." -- This is ungrammatical because the preposition has been repeated.

2) "T is the temperature which the stream cools down to ___." -- This is a grammatical version, but it may confuse the listener if the trace is followed by a noun phrase (such as the gerund adverbial ", entering the box").

3) "T is the temperature to which the stream cools down ___." -- This is a grammatical version that moves the preposition along with the pronoun.

  • that is a good explanation, I suspect that what has been attempted is: 'to which...cools' + 'down to'. The whole use of 'down' is suspect when 'temperature' is included in the sentence. – Trevor Christopher Butcher Oct 26 '18 at 10:26
  • 'Down' is quite compatible with 'temperature', but it is redundant with 'cool'. – AmI Oct 26 '18 at 10:39
  • ... which is what I meant by 'the sentence'. – Trevor Christopher Butcher Oct 26 '18 at 10:47

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