I'm an English learner. While I was reading a novel, one question that I never tried to resolved appeared and then I decided that time for a resolution was indispensable. Which phrase is correct: "They are the officers you need to respect" or "They are the officers you need to respect to"? I don't remember where but I read that is non-standard to place a preposition at the end.

  • Hello Valeria, and welcome to StackExchange. This site is intended for the more intricate aspects of how the English language is used. Questions that are about learning English and understanding basic English grammar fit better on our sister site, English Language Learners. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Feb 26 '17 at 18:46
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    Additionally, there are two aspects to your question. One is whether or not it’s standard to end a sentence with a preposition; we already have many questions about that which you can find with by searching the site (the answer is yes, it’s fine). The other is the verb respect; the reason your second option is wrong is that in English you simply respect something—you don’t respect to it. So if you rephrase the sentence, it should be, “You need to respect them”, not “You need to respect †to them”. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Feb 26 '17 at 18:47
  • @JanusBahsJacquet - True points, but one could say: "These are the officers you need to give respect to." – J.R. Feb 26 '17 at 20:17
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    @J.R. Yes, because give, being a very different verb, can take indirect objects (either dative objects or prepositional phrase objects with to). Different verb, different structure. You could also say, “These are the officers you need to show respect (for)”, yet another structure. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Feb 26 '17 at 20:25
  • @Janus - True again. I mentioned "give respect to" specifically because of the possibility that the original sentence from the book may have been misquoted or misprinted. – J.R. Feb 26 '17 at 20:32

They're the officers you need to respect.

They're the officers you need to respect to.

The former sentence is grammatical, whereas the latter isn't correct.

The verb respect isn't followed by a preposition before its object, so the use of the preposition "to" is not correct in the sentence. Look at the following sentences.

This is the person I talked to yesterday.

This is the person I saw yesterday

The verb talk takes the preposition to. You talk to someone, you don't talk anyone.

The verb see doesn't take a preposition. So you see somebody, you don't see to anybody.

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