4

Here is one phrase:

This mayhem is not something to put up with.

Here "put up with" is a complete expression, so I cannot simply drop "with" or "up" from the end.

How about this one, a title for a UI element:

The list to add items to.

Can I drop "to" from the end? Will it still be valid grammar? Will the meaning still be the same?

Similarly:

The dropdown box to select items from.

Can I drop "from" from the above sentence?

Something from a kitchen:

A tray to put fruits on.

Can I just say "A tray to put fruits"? (Yes, I know, a "fruit tray" or a "tray for fruits" would be better, but this is not my question).

Is there a name for this grammar form, where a dangling preposition is dropped?

  • The general answer is "no" - though you could say "The dropdown box, from which to select items", "A tray on which to put fruits". It probably doesn't help much as it lengthens, rather than shortens the expressions - but I prefer them. Prepositions at the end of sentences are like sore thumbs - and if it is that to which you object, you know what to do. – WS2 Mar 26 at 19:12
  • Nice question. If the answers here are disappointing, try the linguistics StackE. – Hugh Mar 26 at 19:36
5

By removing the preposition you'd be turning an intransitive verb into a transitive verb. This may work in certain cases, because there are some verbs that can either be transitive or intransitive. However, the transitive and intransitive versions of verbs often have different meanings. In that case, removing the preposition may result in a valid sentence with a different meaning.

Examples:

The list to add [transitive] items to -> the list to which items are added
The list to add [intransitive] items -> the list whose purpose is adding items

The dropdown box to select [intransitive] items from -> the list from which items can be selected
The dropdown box to select [transitive] items -> the list whose purpose is selecting items

I need someone to talk [intransitive] to -> I require a conversation partner
I need someone to talk [transitive] -> I require that someone speak

The car must not be jumped [intransitive] on -> Don't climb on the car and jump on it
The car must not be jumped [transitive] -> Don't jump start the car/Don't leap over the car

The climbing wall should not be climbed [intransitive] on -> Don't use your hands and feet to move around on the wall
The climbing wall should not be climbed [transitive] -> Don't use your hands and feet to ascend the wall (hey, this one pretty much works!)

Put does not have a transitive sense, so a tray cannot "put fruits."

  • Don't jump and climb on the car. – Lambie Mar 26 at 20:27
  • Ooh, climb is an example that does work (mostly). Thanks, @Lambie – Juhasz Mar 26 at 20:34
  • 1
    No worries. :) Not sure that a climbing wall is climbed on usually. The children climb on the furniture, but I climb climbing walls. Right? – Lambie Mar 26 at 20:51

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