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Sentences:

1) Thus, each student defines how he or she wants his or her stay at the residence hall to be like and adapts it to his or her needs

(Thus, each student defines how he or she wants his or her to stay at the residence hall to be like and adapts it to his or her needs)

.

2) She wants revenge

(She wants to revenge)

.

3) She wants me dead

(She wants me to dead / to be dead)

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Question:

Should they add a preposition 'to' after the verb 'want'?

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The verb want can be used in several ways. According to the Cambridge Dictionary, the relevant options for these contexts are

I want some chocolate [+ noun]
I want to eat [+ to + verb infinitive]
I want you to eat [+ object + to + verb infinitive]
I want it sent [+object + past participle]


Thus, each student defines how he or she wants his or her stay at the residence hall to be like and adapts it to his or her needs

The object is stay, which in this context is a noun, so no to is required.

She wants revenge

The object is revenge which can only be a noun, so no to is required. The corresponding verb is avenge.

She wants me dead

The object is me, and dead is a participle that the speaker wants invoked on the object. No to is required for a past participle.

She wants me to be dead

The verb be is a verb infinitive and does require to. This is not a natural sentence, and most speakers would use the participle version. It would be completely natural if the participle were replaced by a normal adjective:

She wants me to be nice

1

To begin with, *She wants me to dead is not proper English. You should say She wants me dead.

Generally, when to want is followed by a noun or by an adjective, like revenge or dead, to cannot be used. To can only be used if another verb follows it.

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