"to" at the begining or at the end ?

vost

Senior Member
France, Français
Hi,

which is the better version ?

whom are you telling tales to ? you ? or me ?
to whom are you telling tales ? to you ? or to me ?

 
  • cyberpedant

    Senior Member
    English USA, Northeast, NYC
    You didn't mention the register in which you are wriring or speaking.

    whom are you telling tales to ? you ? or me ?
    This is fine grammatically, but would probably never be spoken by anyone but the most careful. Colloquial AE would be "Who are you...?" Wrong case, but absolutely normal.

    to whom are you telling tales ? to you ? or to me ?

    Fine. But again, not colloquial speech.
     

    vost

    Senior Member
    France, Français
    it is colloquial speech. the person answer to another one who gave arguments which don't ring true.
     

    David

    Banned
    Colloquial speech would be "who are you telling tales to?" - sans doute! There is a formal rule of the grammarians that one should not end a sentence with a preposition, but the rule is largely archaic, and the distinction between who in the nominative and whom in the objective is nearly dead in common usage. As Churchill said, famously, regarding the preposition at the end (in this case any normal person would put with at the end:, "That is something up with which I shall not put," which sounds just as ridiculous as he meant it to sound.
     

    estefanos

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    whom are you telling tales to ? you ? or me ?
    to whom are you telling tales ? to you ? or to me ?
    First off, I'd suggest several changes in your sentences:

    Whom are you telling tales to? You or me?
    To whom are you telling tales? To you or to me?

    I'm sure you understand the capitalization. In English, a question mark is not separated from the sentence by a space as it is in French. (Because of dsiplay/visiblilty concerns, this rule is sometimes broken for online content; the similar rule for exclamation points is often broken online). There is only one ending punctuation mark per sentence. I like the way you write "to you ? or to me ?", but it's non-standard in English.

    Edit
    - I just found this on Wikipedia: "It [?] can also be used mid-sentence to mark a merely interrogative phrase, where it functions similarly to a http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comma_%28punctuation%29comma, such as in the single sentence 'Where shall we go? and what shall we do?'. So your original punctuation is seldom-seen rather than non-standard. Thanks for the lesson. :D

    You could recast your sentences slightly, like this:

    Whom are you telling tales to? You? Me?
    To whom are you telling tales? To you? To me?

    Finally, here are what I consider slightly more idiomatic versions:


    Who are you telling tales to? You or me?
    To whom are you telling tales? You or me?

    For dialogue, the first is better unless you are trying to paint the speaker as pedantic, pretentious, or perhaps something else; it's not a natural way to speak.
     
    Last edited:

    vost

    Senior Member
    France, Français
    The speaker have no clue to say if the other person believe in what he said or not.

    The other person may believe in his arguments and so be telling tales to himself, or may be only trying to convince the speaker that he is thinking in what he said and so, telling tales to the speaker.

    That's why I wrote you ? or me ? with two question marks, to insist on the pause in the speech.
     

    estefanos

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    The speaker have no clue to say if the other person believe in what he said or not.

    The other person may believe in his arguments and so be telling tales to himself, or may be only trying to convince the speaker that he is thinking in what he said and so, telling tales to the speaker.

    That's why I wrote you ? or me ? with two question marks, to insist on the pause in the speech.
    Oh, now I understand.

    You intend two sentences there, albeit short ones. I thought it was one sentence with an intermediate question mark. If you write "You? Or me?" (note capitals) your intent will be clear to the reader.
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top