If I am talking to a car rental agent whose company has many branch offices, could I use the following sentence? I'd like to know if it is natural to leave out the object of pick up.

  1. Can I pick up at one location and return it at another?

  2. Can I pick up from one location and return a car to another?

I'm thinking about examples like "He bought and ate a burger," where the object "burger" is shared by "bought" as well as "ate." Do you know the same process cannot work in the car rental example?

I would say that one could dispense with nouns and pronouns altogether, if talking (or writing) to an agency which dealt specifically with hiring cars :

May I collect and return to different branches ?

... is quite sufficient.

Your sentences sound natural but require an it to make them grammatically correct:

Can I pick it up at one location and return it at another?

Can I pick a car up from one location and return it to another?

  • "Can I it pick up" should be "Can I pick it up" – Tashus Dec 6 at 17:20
  • @Tashus Edited, thanks for pointing that out – D Manokhin Dec 6 at 17:33
  • 3
    Millions of native speakers ask Can I pick up at one location and drop off at another? using the verbs intransitively to refer to the two basic activities of car rental. No object is needed for this question to be grammatical. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Dec 6 at 18:10
  • I agree that the pronoun is required in order for the sentence to sound natural. But in the second sentence, if you're not going to use it in both parts of the sentence, I would use the car in the first part and it in the second part. Specifying the pronoun before what it refers to is unnatural. – Jason Bassford Dec 6 at 18:54
  • @DManokhin I have taken the liberty of changing your second example to read: Can I pick the car up from one location and return it to another? because, logically, you have to refer to the car before you can refer to it.. At the same time, I have marked your answer up. It's not customary to amend somebody's answer and I apologise for intruding in this manner. You can reverse my changes if you choose. – Ronald Sole Dec 6 at 19:05

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