I'm writing something where a character tells someone else vaguely something that that she did in the past and then tacks on "I'll let you figure out the rest" at the end.

Then some of the notes of the person proofreading my work suggested I have her say "I'll let you figure the rest out" instead.

What he suggested seems totally fine... but what I initially put seemed just as equally viable to me. So I asked myself if it matters and if it does then which should I use here?

1 Answer 1


The wording of "I'll let you figure the rest out" sounds far less idiomatic than "I'll let you figure out the rest." Google Ngrams supports this: an image from google ngrams, comparing the phrases "figure out the rest" and "figure the rest out", showing that "figure out the rest" is far more commonly used.

Additionally, in this situation, I believe that "out" is being used as a preposition, making this not only non-idiomatic, but also grammatically incorrect.

  • If you follow the modern trend and call such particles intransitive prepositions, then maybe so, but out has to follow a pronoun (figure it/that/something out), but far less frequently with nouns, but even that usage is grammatical.
    – KarlG
    Commented Dec 11, 2018 at 18:32

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