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  1. In which class do you study?
  2. Which class do you study in?

Which one is the correct sentence, and why?
Explain it in detail.
Why the preposition is used at the end of sentence, and in the beginning as well?
May I know the reason behind it please?
Thanks in advance.

  • 2
    Please don't close this question. The peculiar way that prepositions in English can move around is often very confusing to learners coming from languages that don't have anything analogous in their native grammar. This question hits that problem quite succinctly and directly. – Ben Kovitz Jan 17 '16 at 21:24
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Both sentences are grammatical. You have discovered something that often surprises learners from non-Germanic languages: in English, prepositions often follow the verb and are often heard as part of the verb. In a question, the object is often moved to the beginning of the sentence, leaving the verb at the end of the sentence. It's often natural to keep the preposition with the verb, at the end of the sentence.

Analogous patterns

English grammar often works by analogies with familiar patterns rather than by simple rules. So, instead of a rule to memorize, here are some ordinary sentences that illustrate the kinds of analogies that play a role in your question:

I'm reading The Hobbit.
Which book are you reading?

"Read" is a transitive verb (it takes an object with no preposition), so when you convert the statement to a question by putting the object at the beginning of the sentence, "reading" goes the end. This is the simplest pattern. The others are variations that address additional complexity.

I will be sleeping in on Saturday.
What day will you be sleeping in?

"Sleep in" is a phrasal verb: the verb actually consists of both words. It means to stay asleep in bed beyond the time when you usually wake up in the morning: for example, sleeping until 10:00 a.m. when normally you wake up at 6:30 a.m. It would be ungrammatical, in the question form of the sentence, to put "in" anywhere but after "sleeping". The preposition "in" doesn't introduce an object; its only function in these sentences is to help form the phrasal verb "sleep in".

I'm sitting on the green chair.
Which chair are you sitting on?
On which chair are you sitting?

"Sit" is an intransitive verb: it needs "on" to introduce what you're sitting on.* "Sit on" is not a phrasal verb. But the pattern is similar enough to the previous one that we usually keep "sitting" together with "on" at the end of the sentence. Because "on" introduces an object (unlike "in" in "sleeping in"), it's also grammatical to move "on" to the beginning of the question, where it introduces its object (the chair).

The preposition controversy

By the way, there has long been a controversy about whether it's grammatically incorrect to end a sentence with a preposition in English. Some argue that a preposition introduces an object, so the object must follow it, and therefore the preposition can't end the sentence. I think that's a false analogy with Latin grammar: in English, prepositions often follow verbs without introducing an object. In 1762, Robert Lowth observed that the putting the preposition at the start of the phrase sounds more dignified and formal. In later years, many schoolteachers converted Lowth's observation into a "rule" that it's ungrammatical to end a sentence with a preposition, but English has never worked that way. Lowth's observation is still valid, though. The form with the preposition at the start of the sentence sounds more formal—probably too formal for most casual conversation.


*As often happens in English, there are also transitive senses of "sit", as in "sit an exam". But "sit" in the sense of being seated on a chair does not take a direct object.

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Which class do you study in? Is the correct answer as the preposition always goes at the end of the sentence in a question. For e.g we ask the follow : Which season are we in? And not in which season are we.

  • Not true. Prepositions never go at the end of a sentence. Although they are sometimes put there in spoken English. – Chenmunka Jan 17 '16 at 10:45
  • We are not talking about spoken english we are talking about the structure of the question in English! prepositions always always go at the end !! and please make sure of your information before posting an answer @Chenmunka – user155776 Jan 17 '16 at 10:53
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    Look friends, as far as my knowledge is concerned that these both the sentences are grammatical. These are soundly correct. Secondly, we can use prepositions at the end of sentences, as a general rule like when your sentences are going to begin with relative pronouns. "Which"is relative pronoun. That's why it is correct to put the preposition at the end of sentence. I am confused about 1st sentence. Why the preposition is used in the begging of sentence here? What part of speech, is it there? – I don't know who I am. Jan 17 '16 at 11:25
  • @Magsi Which is not a relative pronoun. What makes you think the preposition in can't be used at the beginning of the sentence? – user24743 Jan 17 '16 at 15:24
  • Well guys i highly recommend to go to YouTube look for mr skype lessons about prepositions he's a great British teacher and you gonna find all your answers – user155776 Jan 17 '16 at 19:26

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