While infinitive clauses don't have any noun before themselves, can they have any prepositions just as in the following examples?

  • That topic is difficult to talk about.
  • She is hard to be with.
  • I love that car because it is safe to travel in. So on.

What do you think?

  • ...don't have any noun before them (not "themselves").
    – TimR
    Jun 7, 2018 at 16:11

1 Answer 1


The preposition at the end of your sentences is governed by the relationship of the specific verb in the infinitive clause to the subject.

... it is difficult to talk about.

... she is hard to be with.

... that car because it is safe to travel in.

We talk about a topic (not along, with, onto, before, etc, a topic).

We travel in a car (not onto a car, before a car, etc)

So, as long as the preposition works with the underlying statement, it can appear at the end of such an infinitive clause which is part of the subject complement.

  • I see. So we can say that they don't need any nouns in order to function like this. Can we also use them for a purpose? Like "In order to talk about, we should find a topic which everyone here is interested in." ?
    – Jawel7
    Jun 7, 2018 at 17:09
  • These prepositions do in fact need a noun; the noun is simply not in the immediate vicinity of the preposition; the preposition is part of the subject complement (the subject being the needed noun or NP): it, she, that car.
    – TimR
    Jun 7, 2018 at 17:25
  • I think that a topic may be discussed, debated, or spoken on, rather than talked about. Am I mistaken?
    – Victor B.
    Jun 7, 2018 at 20:36

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