1

Collins Cobuild English Grammar says

"If the verb in a relative clause is a phrasal verb ending with a preposition, you cannot move the preposition to the beginning of the clause."

Macmillan says "depend on" is a phrasal verb.

So is "I’m looking for an assistant on whom I can depend" wrong?

  • 1
    Here is a thorough answer about phrasal verbs that I recommende reading. – Nico Aug 19 '14 at 19:50
2

There is nothing grammatically wrong with:

I’m looking for an assistant on whom I can depend.

it is equivalent to:

I’m looking for an assistant I can depend upon.

or

I’m looking for an assistant I can depend on.

The "dangling preposition" is not a grammar violation, but it may not meet some editor's style standards.

  • 3
    These two options sound natural to my (American) ear: - "I'm looking for an assistant I can depend on." - "I'm looking for a dependable assistant." The other two options are grammatically correct, but do not sound natural to me. "Whom" and "upon" are not used much anymore: - I'm looking for an assistant on whom I can depend. - I'm looking for an assistant I can depend upon. – Jasper Aug 18 '14 at 16:55
  • I agree with you. "I'm looking for a dependable assistant." sounds best to me. – Gary's Student Aug 18 '14 at 17:00

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