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New York is a great place to live.

New York is a great place to live in.

I've seen the former usage a lot and I've started wondering what the grammar aspects of it are.

Both sentences are equally correct, right? But are both equally formal as well? What could you tell about the grammar of the former sentence?

Edit: I'm adding some more examples of similar usage:

This organisation is a great place to work.

This is a great place to stay/sit/study/travel/go.

Just to show that 'live' isn't special in this case.

1

The biggest reason not to use the word in is that while we may live in a city, living in a place sounds odd. This sounds perfectly fine:

New York is a great place to live.

If you want to use the word in, I would change place to city, and then follow this rule: In formal english, don't end a sentence with a preposition. Here, in is a preposition. So the proper way to say this is:

New York is a great city in which to live.

However, following that rule can make you sound a little stuffy, or overly proper. So in most cases, we just say

New York is a great city to live in.

  • I agree the middle example is "stuffy" & less common, but it's a little unclear whether you're suggesting #1 or #3 as the best option. I'd say (& Google Ngram agrees) that "a great place to live" is preferable/more common. – mc01 Aug 12 '14 at 0:29
  • I don't really have a preference between #1 and #3, and I have a hard time pinpointing why I might say one instead of the other. – pabo Aug 12 '14 at 0:59
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    Whoa! The rule is changed these days! There’s no necessity to ban prepositions from the end of sentences. Ending a sentence with a preposition is a perfectly natural part of the structure of modern English. - OxfordDictionaries – Maulik V Aug 12 '14 at 4:57
  • [compassrose.com/grammar/split-infinitive.html] (A nice essay on split infinitives.) I would say #1 or #3 are fine. Dropping a word like that is ok usually, because the word is sort of implied. Many languages seem to have this behavior. "Konichi Wa" translates directly as "as for this day". It seems to leave you hanging, until you know that "nan desu ka? (how is it?)" is the implied ending. – JSM Aug 21 '14 at 17:32
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I think I can not hold a candle to the native English speakers as English is my second language. Even then I would like to express myself as follows:

I do agree that the sentence "New York is a great place to live" sounds good and more natural, compared to "New York is a great place to live in". However, both the sentences are right as when we leave off the preposition at the end of the sentence, it gives the same sense and fits in the modern structure of the English language.

I quote some more examples, in addition to the ones mentioned in the question, with prepositions used or deleted to end sentences:

  • I need a pen to write or write with.
  • Where are you or where are you at.
  • Where is my coat or where is my cost at.

In these sentences, the prepositions with/at seem unnecessary and hence be omitted. However, this rule does not apply to every sentence ending with a preposition. It is not possible to dispense with the preposition in most of the cases, especially in case of phrasal verbs such as:

  • What are you looking for
  • Who are you talking to
  • Where do you come from
  • Who are you interested in
  • He is the person I am worried about
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The first form is much more common. There are 27 hits at COCA for

A GREAT PLACE TO LIVE .

(ending with a period) and only 1 for

A GREAT PLACE TO LIVE IN

The first one sounds more natural to me, but when I stop and think about it, it does seem kind of weird.

Maybe it's using live transitively. Live can in fact be used transitively: You can live the dream, live a life of leisure, live a lie, live a lifestyle, etc.

But can you live a place? Can you live New York? I don't think so. Those sound weird, so I don't think it's transitive.

My best guess is that it's short for New York is a great place in which to live, and that the in which is simply elided.

  • 1
    Could people who vote down answers please provide an explanation of why they did so. – Dangph Aug 12 '14 at 4:05

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