I heard someone explain to someone else what a laser pen/ laser pointer was. This is how he explained it, "It's a pen you could use to shoot lasers out of." and I have been wondering whether what he said was grammatically correct or not.

So, is it?

  • Your title shows you have you have good ability to use relative construction. Your quoted sentence contains similar construction. If you try I'm sure you yourself can decipher it. Give it a shot! – Man_From_India Mar 23 '16 at 18:27
  • I probably would've just dropped the "Out of" at the end of the sentence he came up with. I'm still curious, could the sentence he constructed be deemed grammatically correct? – lekon chekon Mar 23 '16 at 18:57
  • ... out of (it)... That it is omitted. – Man_From_India Mar 23 '16 at 19:00

This sentence is grammatically correct; you may feel uncomfortable with the prepositions "out of" being placed at the end, but this is done often in English. See this answer in [english.se] for some examples and discussion.

There are possible issue with the term "shoot lasers". Typically laser is a device or an adjective, and "laser beams" would be more correct. Also, you normally "shoot targets" and "fire bullets"; "shoot bullets" is less common.

All the above is about meaning, not about grammar. The grammar is kept if you replace verbs by other verbs and nouns by other nouns, so here it is just fine.

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Yes, that sentence is grammatically correct.

I learned from your comment that you would normally drop the last two words to say the same thing. The sentence would still be correct without those last two words. In fact I think those two last words are creating redundancy, meaning wise. So, you could also say it:

It's a pen you could use to shoot lasers

Here the sense of out of is implicit. You are using something to shoot laser since, of course, lasers are shot "out of" it, not "into it", or anything like that!

Some more ways of saying the same thing could be:

It's a pen you could use to shoot lasers (from)

It's a pen that shoots lasers (from it)

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  • 2
    If you omit "out of" and leave "shoot lasers" it would have the same structure as "that's a pen you can use to shoot elephants"... Which has a completely different meaning. It can also be made ambiguous,moor example with "shoot meatballs". – laugh salutes Monica C Mar 23 '16 at 20:11
  • @laugh But none of that relates to my answer. I talked about leaving out the last two words (i.e. "out of"). I don't understand what's the point of bringing up examples that leaves out last three words, and then appends some elephants and meatballs. – Sнаđошƒаӽ Mar 24 '16 at 4:04

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