'Who to?' : prepositions in the end of a sentence

Hi :slight_smile:

Not hiding myself behind the Winston Churchill’s back
( wsu.edu/~brians/errors/churchill.html ),

I’ll just bravely quote my favourite British lady, Agatha Christie :slight_smile:

‘Who to?’ here is informal and colloquial.

In contrary, would To whom? be the formal equivalent?

And also…
could you say something about use of whom? I rare see it in practice… except for To whom it may concern:slight_smile:

Hi Tamara,

Just as an aside seeing that you like Agatha Christie, have you ever read any of Dorothy L Sayers?

You asked:

Yes, in contrast to whom would be the formal equivalent.

As for whom it is not used much because when you say it in an unstressed position, you can hardly hear it as in:

This is the writer (whom) I recommended

but as in the example you quoted ie to whom in the stressed position, it’s alive and kicking. Can I steer you in all modesty to my material on the site on relatives:



Hi Alan,

Thank you for the explanation.
(About the links: I’ve read most of your lessons, even though some are at a higher level than I’m still able to comprehend… :frowning: But sometimes I come back and understand a bit more :)).

About ‘whom’ – OK.

A ‘general’ question.
Where should I put a preposition in a question that is a complex sentence ending by a ‘subordinate’ clause - when the preposition is from the main part or is a part of a (transitive) phrasal verb finishing the main part?
In the end of the main clause or in the end of the sentence?

For example:
What do you have to bring a person who put forward such a ridiculous idea so seriously round?

Two ‘particular’ questions.
Are the sentences correct (from the point of the thread):
When am I to wake you up?
It was about the customs we all grew up with.
How would they sound for you if speaking? Fine?

And off-topic questions. :slight_smile:
About Dorothy L. Sayers – no, I haven’t yet read her books. :frowning:

Following your reference, I’ve found several web sites with her biography and brief descriptions of her works.
But some phrases are ‘a bit too much’ for me :slight_smile:
Could you help me and explain their meaning, please?

  1. Her theology was traditionally Anglican with emphasis on doctrine.

2 She explored by-ways of knowledge



Hi Tamara,

With reference to:

In the first one the gap between the verb bring and the particle round is too big -it’s almost German in its construction - and so you’ve got to say: bring a person round.

Your two particular questions are fine.

On Ms Sayers don’t be put off by the info you’ve seen. She is a detective story writer but it’s the style that I find most impressive. She was also a bit of a character and was always on the search to find out more about anything that took her fancy. (explored by ways of knowledge). As to being a traditional Anglican - she was brought up in the Church of England naturally as her father was the local Anglican vicar but it wasn’t the outward show of religion that interested her but more the teaching (doctrine). She didn’t by all accounts care what she looked like but was a passionate thinker and activist. She wrote a play for BBC radio I think in the 50’s called Man Born To Be King about the crucifixion of Christ, which is great theatre but caused quite a shock at the time because actors were used for the first time to speak the words of God and Christ. I am a fan of hers!


Hi Alan,

Hmm. As I understand, there is no ‘formal rule’ for ‘too big’, it’s just your native feeling…

Thanks for your introduction. Your personal opinion and recommendation are valuable for me.

Sorry for my misunderstanding and lazyness…
For me doctrine - mainly and firstly - means dogma. So, I asked the question because (for me) without ‘with emphasis on doctrine’ (just with ‘traditional’) the sentence would have the same meaning…
Now I’ve looked into dictionaries…
You’re right.

Sentences of such kind are actually tongue-twisters… I can’t say that naturally… it sounds as if I am a natural stammerer…

Have a nice weekend,

I think I can probably help you on this question, but I can’t understand this sentence you’ve given here. How can you “put forward an idea round”? It doesn’t seem to make any sense.

I think this sentence is nonsensical, because if round is a preposition, then it has to have had some kind of object. However, there isn’t anything in the sentence that could have served as its object. What can’t be the object of round, because it’s the direct object of bring. The object of round can’t be who, because who is the subject of put. It seems to me that round doesn’t have any purpose there.

Hi Jamie,

This was my – specially created :slight_smile: – sentence with the phrasal verb bring smb. round.

What (arguments) do you have to bring him round? – would be fine? Or not?

To provide an illustration for my above question, I just replaced <smb.> with the clause
‘a person who…’.
– and after that I myself have completely lost the ability to understand it. :slight_smile:

(Maybe, because I didn’t have German-as-a-second-language at my school time :slight_smile: ).


Hi Tamara,

Let’s rewrite your sentence:

What do you have to do to bring a person round to your point of view,who put forward such a ridiculous idea so seriously?


I see. Then the sentence will be good by moving round next to the verb it belongs to.

[color=darkblue]What do you have to bring round a person who put forward such a ridiculous idea so seriously?

The issue is not the placement of a preposition, because round is a verb particle here and not a preposition. The reason the sentence was confusing was that it was unclear whether the round was meant to belong to something in the main clause or the adjective clause. Moving it over next to its verb clarifies this. Alan’s explanation about the length of the adjective clause is true, but this is because there was a verb intervening between bring and its particle round, so it wasn’t clear that the two belonged to each other.