The sentence, "Innovation requires more exploration and risk-taking than architects are typically used to." sounds incorrect tome, but I cannot put my finger on what the problem is. Please help me figure it out. Many Thanks!

  • 1
    "used to" sounds wrong here. How about "accustomed to" or "comfortable with"? Jan 25, 2019 at 12:26

2 Answers 2


I would say:

''Innovation requires more exploration and risk-taking than those the architects are typically used to."

The thing is that in the second clause there is a shortened form of the predicate (which can be reconstructed as 'are used to exploration and risk-taking').

Instead of these omitted words we need the pronoun ''those''.

  • 2
    Uh, no. Those architects instead of these. Adding a demonstrative does nothing for the sentence.
    – KarlG
    Jan 25, 2019 at 12:18
  • I agree with you that my term was not correct.
    – user307254
    Jan 25, 2019 at 12:52

I suspect you’re uncomfortable with ending your sentence with a preposition whose object cannot be readily supplied by the reader. Traditional grammar considered doing so an error in any circumstance, but the modern consensus is that it’s a question of register and style:

It's not an error to end a sentence with a preposition, but it is a little less formal. In emails, text messages, and notes to friends, it's perfectly fine. But if you're writing a research paper or submitting a business proposal and you want to sound very formal, avoid ending sentences with prepositions. — ”Ending a Sentence with a Preposition: It's Ok and It's Not,”Grammarly, 3 Sept. 2014.

I would expand the “less formal” category to include most newspaper or magazine articles, a prepared oral presentation with a more conversational tone (think TED talk), and anywhere not doing so yields clumsy or overly stiff results.

On the other hand, sometimes it sounds a bit tortured:

“They’re [buses] still coming on time most of the time, or almost all of the time, but not on time more than people are used to, more than we’re used to, or more than people are accepting of,” Scrimgeour said. — “Barrhaven transit customers struggle with unreliable service, stuffed buses,” Ottawa Citizen, 18 Nov. 2018.

Used to, used to, accepting of might be good parallel structure, but more than people can accept is simpler and more direct, that is, if you can figure out at what point more frequently punctual bus service is not acceptable.

The way to avoid ending a sentence with a preposition — or a particle from a phrasal verb — is to supply the object or some other sentence element:

On the other side, Sebastian did some mistakes, much more than he is used to doing in the past. — “Lewis Hamilton, Michael Schumacher, Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso - who's this century's greatest?” BBC Sport, 8 Nov. 2018.

The phrase more than he used to is more direct and economical. Repeating the verb and adding a temporal expression is unnecessary.

For this reason, most people going through cancer treatment have to eat more than they are used to eating. — “Managing Nutrition During Cancer & Treatment,” Chemocare.

Completing the ellipsis with eating is acceptable, but also unnecessary.

So where does that leave you?

Innovation requires more exploration and risk-taking than architects are typically used to.

is grammatically correct but not formal. Not stranding the preposition requires a bit of juggling:

Innovation requires exploration and risk-taking at a level to which most architects are not accustomed.

Or supplying an object after the preposition:

Innovation requires more exploration and risk-taking than architects are typically used to bringing to a design project.

The first option is too transparent to its goal of not ending with to. The second is a better choice if the phrase brings actual information rather than just fill an imaginary grammatical hole.

Basically, I’d say stick with what you’ve got unless your text must be in a formal register. If so, then start over.


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