"that I sent you" or "that I sent to you"

Discussion in 'English Only' started by 3xn1h1Lo, Nov 7, 2008.

  1. 3xn1h1Lo New Member

    France
    Hello everybody,

    I came across two different structures in relative clauses and both look evenly spread. I thus wonder if there is any differences between thee following:

    - Have you read the book that (or which) I sent to you.
    - Have you read the book that (or which) I sent you.

    After going through a few grammatical books my only clues are that:

    - The option 1 is used as such.
    - The option 2 is used when saying for instance:
    Have you read the book that I sent you the summary of.

    Whatever the answer, is it the same principles for give and all the verbs you can use as verb [complement] [complement] or verb [complement] to [complement]?

    Thanks a lot!
     
  2. Matching Mole

    Matching Mole Senior Member

    England, English
    Welcome to the forum 3xn1h1Lo

    The preposition "to" is often, perhaps even usually, dropped in these cases. I think this is true of most verbs of the type you described. English being as it is, I wouldn't go as far as to say it is true for all of them.

    In your sentence "that" is also frequently dropped:
    "Have you read the book I sent you?"
    Generally, I would use "that" and not "which", as it this a restrictive or defining clause. The sentence describes a particular book: the one that was sent. The fact of it being sent is what defines or identifies this book.

    Dropping the "to" in your example would not convey the fact that a summary of or suggestion for a book was given, rather than the book itself. Without further context, you would be understood to mean the book itself. If you mean a summary or suggestion, it would be best to say "Have you read the book I told you about", or similar.
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2008
  3. FC7user

    FC7user Senior Member

    US English
    Welcome to the forum!

    Yes, both sentences mean exactly the same thing. They are used interchangeably in spoken English.

    And yes, the same rule applies to "give":

    Have you read the book that I gave to you?=Have you read the book that I gave you?

    I don't know about all verbs, but I believe that with many the indirect complement "to someone" can be replaced with simply "someone".

    P.S. I just have to complement your English. It's very good. :thumbsup:
     
  4. 3xn1h1Lo New Member

    France
    Thanks to both of you!

    So that's what I thought regarding spoken English. And how about formal (written) English? Is the "sent to you" pattern more formal?

    Oh and by the way, I saw in a text the pattern "The book was given us" which sounds (after looking into a grammatical book once again) rather formal. Is it also possible with: "The letter was sent us" or does it only exist as long as you use "give"?

    Thanks guys!

    PS: FC7user, thanks but I've no merits, I spent one year in the UK and had to write bunches of words :) It was a rather horrible time ;)
     
  5. FC7user

    FC7user Senior Member

    US English
    "The book was given us" sounds just wrong. I think you would have to say "to us". However, you can say something along the lines of "They gave us the book".

    My conclusion: When you use a passive construction, you have to say "to someone". In the main clause of a sentence, you can either put your "to someone" after the direct complement or drop the "to" and put the "someone" right before the direct complement. In adjective clauses, you can use either "to someone" or just "someone" after the verb. Let me give you a few examples:

    Passive:

    The book was lent to him.

    Main clause:

    They gave us the book.
    They gave the book to us.

    Adjective clause:

    The letter that they sent to us was printed on white paper.
    The letter that they sent us was printed on white paper.

    Hope this helps you!
     
  6. prankstare Senior Member

    São Paulo
    Portuguese - Brazil
    OK, nice topic.

    I'd like to know from English native speakers which form you think sounds more natural and consequently the one you'd most likely naturally say.

    - Have you read the book I sent to you.
    - Have you read the book I sent you.
     
  7. Matching Mole

    Matching Mole Senior Member

    England, English
    It is correct to say "was given us", but it sounds old-fashioned, or formal (as 3xn1h1Lo suggests). However, I agree that it seems to sound awkward to us today, and we seem to feel that the indirect object needs the preposition in passive cases.

    Here are some similar examples, from a grammar written in the 19th c., which are correct, but sound somehow not quite right to us today:
    "It is left you to find out the reason why;"
    "All such knowledge should be given her."
     
  8. prankstare Senior Member

    São Paulo
    Portuguese - Brazil

    Thus, of the two examples I gave in my previous post the most natural-sounding form, as far as British English is concerned, would be:

    - Have you read the book I sent to you. :tick:
    - Have you read the book I sent you. :cross:


    How about American English, I wonder...
     
  9. FC7user

    FC7user Senior Member

    US English
    I'm American, and "Have you read the book I sent you?" sounds more natural to me.
     
  10. prankstare Senior Member

    São Paulo
    Portuguese - Brazil

    Now that's interesting, hehe. :)
     
  11. kitenok Senior Member

    Hi prankstare,
    I think you might have misunderstood what Matching Mole was saying in Post 7. His point was that in passive constructions it is now usual to use a preposition. So, in both AE and BE:
    This book was given to you. :tick:
    This book was given you. :warning: (very old-fashioned, not standard now)

    But, in both AE and BE:
    Have you read the book I sent to you? :tick:
    Have you read the book I sent you? :tick: (very natural conversational English)
     
  12. FC7user

    FC7user Senior Member

    US English
    I totally agree, Kitenok. But let's see what the BE speakers say....
     
  13. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod

    Matching Mole is British. :)
     
  14. prankstare Senior Member

    São Paulo
    Portuguese - Brazil

    OK, so let me refine my previous post:

    - Have you read the book I sent to you. :tick:
    - Have you read the book I sent you.
    :tick: :tick: (sounds more natural)

    - Has this book been sent to you. :tick:
    - Has this book been sent you.
    :warning: (sounds utterly old-fashioned)

    The absence of preposition (in this case 'to') is a matter only within sentences written in the passive voice.
     
  15. prankstare Senior Member

    São Paulo
    Portuguese - Brazil
    Ohh, just let me make sure of one thing though:

    Does this also applies to when the bit in question does not find itself at the end of a sentence in the active voice? For example:

    - I sent to you the book just yesterday. :tick:
    - I sent you the book just yesterday. :tick: :tick:


    I guess this is the only case that hasn't been answered as far as I know.
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2008
  16. kitenok Senior Member

    I think you've understood this correctly.

    However, there is a separate issue:
    An indirect object (you, without a preposition) can and should come between the verb and the direct object, but we can't do this when we express the indirect object with the preposition to or for.
     
  17. prankstare Senior Member

    São Paulo
    Portuguese - Brazil
    All right,

    Thanks for your clarification kitenok. :)
     

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