+1

Hello, everyone!!

As far as I understand, in informal style we often use ‘where’ to introduce defining relative clauses instead of ‘at/on/in which’ only. However, I’m confused to have found following two contradictory answers about the same usage; “to which vs. where”.

1. “The shop where he went” is OK, or you can retain the unnecessary preposition and leave off the relative pronoun: “the shop he went to”. But “the shop where he went to” is too much. – American English, retired professor (linguist)

https://english.stackexchange.com/questions/503355/to-which-where

2.
[Q] It's the shop ............. . [according to the meaning in 'I went in the shop yesterday.']
I wonder whether the following three made up by me are all ok?;
A. that I went to yesterday.
B. to which I went yesterday.
C. where I went yesterday.
= =
[A]
A. is ok
B. is ok, but quite formal.
C. is incorrect, but I think people do say this occasionally.
You can also hear: D. which I went to yesterday / British
https://forum.wordreference.com/threads/to-which-where.1147530 /

While I’m also inclined to feel above C. is incorrect, would anyone kindly clarify this grammatical usage? Since the natives' answers aren't agreed in one way, is it impossible to find the general rule to cover all cases of the replacement 'preposition+which' with 'where'?

Thanking for your usual helps and RGDS,

Comments  

Hi

1. The first two are good: the shop where he went / the shop he went to.

You've uncovered an interesting question there:

[X] The shop where he went to.

[√] The shop that he went to.

The first is wrong, the second is OK. I have to say, I don't know why - perhaps another contributor can explain that.

2. All are OK to my ear.

- This is the shop where I went yesterday.

I don't really have a problem with that - certainly not in conversation. Perhaps it is the least formal of the four.

2a. Is there a rule for using 'where' in that way?

Of course, you can always use it as pronoun of place:

- This is the bus stop where I get off.

The question, when can you use it as a pronoun of time, is difficult and I think there's no general rule. It's slightly idiomatic and probably depends on how people happen to speak or write:

[√] This is the moment in the yoga exercise where I fall over.

[X] Let's meet at 3 pm, where we can discuss it.

Those are my opinion. My feeling is that 'where' sounds wrong if it is right next to a specific time definition, but it is OK if the notion of time is less direct, embedded within the primary clause.

Hope this helps

Dave

dave_anon

Hi

1. The first two are good: the shop where he went / the shop he went to.

You've uncovered an interesting question there:

[X] The shop where he went to.

[√] The shop that he went to.

The first is wrong, the second is OK. I have to say, I don't know why - perhaps another contributor can explain that.

2. All are OK to my ear.

- This is the shop where I went yesterday.

I don't really have a problem with that - certainly not in conversation. Perhaps it is the least formal of the four.

2a. Is there a rule for using 'where' in that way?

Of course, you can always use it as pronoun of place:

- This is the bus stop where I get off.

The question, when can you use it as a pronoun of time, is difficult and I think there's no general rule. It's slightly idiomatic and probably depends on how people happen to speak or write:

[√] This is the moment in the yoga exercise where I fall over.

[X] Let's meet at 3 pm, where we can discuss it.

Those are my opinion. My feeling is that 'where' sounds wrong if it is right next to a specific time definition, but it is OK if the notion of time is less direct, embedded within the primary clause.

Hope this helps

Dave

Hi, dave anon, thanks for your explanations.

Best RGDS,

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Hi

You're welcome.

[X] The shop where he went to.

[√] The shop that he went to.

I said I couldn't explain why 'to' is wrong in the first and right in the second. I think it's because, as we discussed before, 'where' is standing in for 'to which'. The word 'to' is contained within the meaning of 'where', so you don't need to say it again (and it's incorrect to do so).

However, in the second one, 'that' is a pronoun and is only standing in for the word 'shop'. The idea of 'to' is not contained in the pronoun 'that', so you have to add it in, explicitly, at the end.

Hope this helps

Dave

dave_anon

Hi

You're welcome.

[X] The shop where he went to.

[√] The shop that he went to.

I said I couldn't explain why 'to' is wrong in the first and right in the second. I think it's because, as we discussed before, 'where' is standing in for 'to which'. The word 'to' is contained within the meaning of 'where', so you don't need to say it again (and it's incorrect to do so).

However, in the second one, 'that' is a pronoun and is only standing in for the word 'shop'. The idea of 'to' is not contained in the pronoun 'that', so you have to add it in, explicitly, at the end.

Hope this helps

Dave

Hi, Dave, sincerely appreciate your additional comment. To me, as EFL learner, one of the most difficult things about learning English is that there are too many exceptions without the general grammar rules to cover up these exceptions in some points like this usage about 'where'/'preposition+which'.

Thanks and best RGDS,

Hi

I can understand that. As you may know, English starts off as a mixture of Angle, Saxon and Scandinavian sources, also the Celts are nearby. After the Norman invasion, it takes in many French influences. From the 1500s it imports and adapts Latin words and phrases, to deal with new sciences and literature. And in the 1600s it goes off to America and does its own thing there. There is also the influence of imperialism, stretching across countries with many languages. With the rise of globalism, multicultural English and the internet age, new forms come in.

I can well imagine that it's a tricky language to learn.

Best wishes, Dave

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Thanks, Dave.

Do you speak British English or American one?

RGDS,

Hi

I'm a Londoner, so I speak and write UK English. I understand a little of the differences between the two and I would try to mention it if I knew of a relevant difference that might be important. But my basic style and vocabulary is UK English.

Dave