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  1. At the time it was felt that engines and passengers could not survive the journey without a rest stop.

  2. At the time it was felt that engines and passengers could not survive the journey without stopping a rest.

  3. At the time it was felt that engines and passengers could not survive the journey without they stop for a rest.

1 is a random sentence I found on Internet, presumably on an British site; 2 and 3 are varied forms of 1.

Supposing 1 is good English, are 2 and 3 okay, too? If so, are there differences in meaning?

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#2 has to be without stopping for a rest, and (I think) #3 is non-standard "dialectal" (I often use it myself, but I suspect not everyone approves! :) –  FumbleFingers Mar 14 '13 at 23:33
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@FumbleFingers- I've heard #3 too, usually in Gangster movies set in NYC, and it's pronounced, "widdout dey stop for a rest." –  Jim Mar 15 '13 at 1:07
    
@Jim: I'm sure most of several thousand instances of "without I have to" are for this usage (I doubt many of them are the reported speech of Noo York Eye-talian gangsters! :) –  FumbleFingers Mar 15 '13 at 3:34
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1 Answer

The first sentence is correct, though it refers to a "rest stop" (a place for resting) rather than just a rest. It could include additional activity such as eating or taking a nap.

The second sentence could be

At the time it was felt that engines and passengers could not survive the journey without stopping for a rest.

As for the third sentence, it could be

At the time it was felt that engines and passengers could not survive the journey unless they stopped for a rest.

But I don't see much real difference in meaning between them.

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#1 needn't refer to a place - it can refer to an action, with a stop = a break = a breather = a recess. –  FumbleFingers Mar 15 '13 at 3:30
    
"Rest stop" in this sense very often doesn't mean a real "rest" (to recover from being tired), but for the use of a "rest room", another euphemism for "comfort station". –  barbara beeton Mar 15 '13 at 17:41
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