As far as I know, both of these sentences are correct:

Who do I have to talk to?

To whom do I have to talk?

However, this is a quotation from a movie:

To whom do I have to talk to?

The second to seems to be redundant to me. Is the above sentence correct or is it a mistake in the movie?

  • 1
    Some English speakers will tell you that the first sentence is incorrect. Those people are wrong; ending a sentence in a preposition is perfectly fine, especially in a wh-fronting construct like that. However, "To whom...?" is generally more formal than "Who... to?" – Kevin Jan 31 '16 at 4:04
  • @Kevin - And attempts to adhere to that myth are what often cause a speaker to misspeak, as D-Rex said in an answer. We start with "To whom" in an effort to put that preposition at the start of a sentence, but then still include it at the end where it sounds natural, because talk to can work as a phrasal verb. – J.R. Jan 31 '16 at 8:37

You are correct, the second 'to' in the movie is redundant. It's a mistake that happens more often when speaking aloud, because you've forgotten the beginning of your sentence by the time you got to the end.

It's possible the character was attempting to speak more formally and screwing it up, which might reveal something about their character.

  • I'm not sure what it would "reveal" about a character – except that maybe this character's mother was a grammar teacher :^) This "mistake" might well have been written into the script deliberately just to make the character sound more realistic. After all, I don't know anyone who would say that second sentence ("To whom do I have to talk?") during a conversation. – J.R. Jan 31 '16 at 8:34
  • It could be a character who wants people to think they are more educated, but they actually aren't, so in an attempt to say the phrase "To whom do I have to talk", they err and say it wrong, showing that they aren't actually as educated as they are pretending to be. – Diminutive Rex Feb 1 '16 at 18:16
  • Sounds like a long shot to me, but anything is plausible, I guess. – J.R. Feb 1 '16 at 19:40

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