2

Is the following sentence correct? I have some doubts about "category where ... fall into" phrase.

It is the category where most of the processed data falls into

3

Use of a preposition with where is non-Standard, because where itself stands for a preposition phrase. It's equivalent to in which or from which or at which or . . . which specific preposition is involved is inferred from the context. But the preposition is built in to the term where.

So if you're using your example in a context where Standard English is called for, you may say "the category where most of the processed data falls into" or "the category which most of the processed data falls into", but not "the category where most of the processed data falls into".

BUT: In some cases an extra preposition is necessary and acceptable. In particular, because where "defaults" to designating a location or a goal, adding from to designate an origin will often be necessary: "From where did you come?" (or "Where did you come from?"). Note, however, that this will not be necessary with a verb like get, which inherently implies an origin.

AND: It must also be acknowledged that in colloquial contexts it is not at all uncommon for a specific preposition to be added to make the specific meaning more explicit; and in these contexts it cannot be regarded as 'incorrect' or 'ungrammatical'.

Note, however, that such an 'extra' preposition is almost always stranded at the end of the clause; you will very rarely see it pied-piped to the position before where:

        always OK the category into which most of the processed data falls
        usually OK the category which most of the processed data falls into
colloquially OK the category where most of the processed data falls into
               not OK the category into where most of the processed data falls

  • Is the following sentence more formal than the one from my question? "It is the category (into which / where) most of the X can be classified." – fuggy_yama Apr 6 '16 at 18:22
  • 1
    Be classified is not noticeably more 'formal' than fall in this context. – StoneyB Apr 6 '16 at 18:24

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.