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Ask-A-Linguist Message Details
|Subject:||Usage of 'with' without an object|
|Question:||Recently I've noticed (in published fiction no less) sentences like this: ''She asked him if he wanted to come with.'' No, not a typo, just ''come with''. This is not a character's speech but the narrator using this. Is this a regional usage? When did this start becoming accepted usage that passes muster with an editor? Thank you!|
|Reply:||Looking at this issue from the point of view of a historical grammarian, I would say that in a sentence like `She asked him if he wanted to come with', `with' isn't really a preposition (which would -- normally -- require an object) but a (post-)verbal particle (where the verb *as a whole* *may* require an object *if it's transitive*). Verbal particles are endemic in the Indo-European languages. *Traditionally* (meaning, over *most* of the past 3000 years or so), the particles are *prefixed* to the verb; an example in English would be a verb like `understand'. But, during the past 2-3 centuries, we're beginning to get verbs with postposed particles (in English, always written as though they were separate words): `come in', `sit down', `put up with'. English is been one of the leading languages in this change. In the Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language, it says `the number of multi-word verbs in the language has grown remarkably, especially in the [20th] century, and they constitute one of the most distinctive features of English syntax.' The example you offer is just `more of the same', from this point of view.|
|Reply From:||Steven Schaufele click here to access email|