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Where did you get that chipset/ (anything you want IT to be) from?

Where did you get that chipset/ (anything you want IT to be)?

What's the difference in the two sentences? What's the significance of the preposition "From" in the first sentence?

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4 Answers 4

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I will address this question putting aside the debate whether to end a sentence with a preposition or not. It's an old debate, and pretty much everybody have a perception as to what is correct, and what is incorrect. But this question has more to it than just the issue of ending a sentence with a preposition.

1.(a) Where did you get ABC from?

This is a perfect grammatical sentence. Now the question might arise whether from is mandatory, especially when there is a where in this sentence. No, at least in this case. It's not mandatory here. Removing it doesn't change the meaning or acceptability at all. So the sentence below is also a valid grammatical sentence -

1.(b) Where did you get ABC?

Suppose the answer to both the questions is - a shop. Now it depends on the speaker how he/she will see the situation. He might think that you got it in the shop or you might got it from the shop. See, there is not much difference in meaning here - in the shop vs from the shop. The difference is in perception. So if you are with in the shop, you might prefer sentence #1.(b), and if you are with from the shop, you might prefer sentence #1.(a).

This note from American Heritage Dictionary is helpful -

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Now, collecting the data from various CORPUS, it's evident that here the version without from is much more common.

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They mean essentially the same thing. There is a lot of debate over ending sentences with prepositions. There are a lot of people who hate it, and a lot who don't care. It's really common in my dialect (midwestern US), but less so in other places. The "from" doesn't add any meaning, but to my ear it sounds more complete, just like to me "Where is the book?" does not sound as good as "Where is the book at?" even though they mean the same thing.

If ending sentences with prepositions isn't a habit you already have, however, I'd say continue to not do it, just because there are so many people who dislike it.

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  • Ugh... "where is the book at" sounds horrid.
    – Catija
    Apr 5, 2016 at 15:26
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    The issue is not just about ending a sentence with a preposition, but about sometimes using a preposition when one may not be necessary. Sometimes the two issues collide. But I'm with you: Where are you all at? sounds "more complete" than Where are you all? Apr 5, 2016 at 15:28
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    @AlanCarmack I disagree. "What store are you at?" sounds fine. "Where are you all at?" sounds wrong. I have a feeling that some of this is regional. I wouldn't recommend saying the latter, though.
    – Catija
    Apr 5, 2016 at 15:29
  • @AlanCarmack This is casualism, I mean the sentence - where are you all at?. It's once straightaway "no" from teachers, but during the sixties it started to gain ground again in casual conversation. And since then it's still the same. But it has never been grammatical, neither then nor now. Apr 5, 2016 at 18:05
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A lot of it relates to the (somewhat dated) grammatical rule that sentences shouldn't end with a preposition.

This is quickly becoming less of an issue, particularly in spoken English.

There are two classifications of ending prepositions... necessary ones and unnecessary ones.

If you omit a necessary ending preposition, the sentence doesn't make sense and if you attempt to incorporate it elsewhere in the sentence, it can sound a bit odd.

As an example:

What did you step on.
*What did you step. (makes no sense)
On what did you step. (acceptable but odd-sounding)

In the other case, you have unnecessary or extraneous prepositions. These can (and to some grammarians should) be omitted.

Where are you at? (OK-ish but unnecessary)
Where are you? (better)

So, in the case of your example, it's a matter of determining how necessary the preposition is to your sentence.

I would argue that it's extraneous and that makes it optional. It's not as horrible as the example above, so I wouldn't strenuously recommend that you omit it but it's definitely not required. Including it does not significantly alter the interpretation of the sentence.

There's some additional information about this here.

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There are different viewpoints about this question.

Some people think they are both correct and have a similar if not identical meaning and they both inquire the location of purchase and as a result don't have any serious differences.

However,for those who always try to split hairs and make petty distinctions,it does make a difference and the difference is as follows:

Where did you get it? Omitting "from" from the question, does not change the question.

Where did you get it from?

Addition of "from" - should be to indicate "asking about a specified place".

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  • I disagree - I think both questions could be answered exactly the same, and neither require a "specified place" (unless I'm misinterpreting your answer). For example "Where did you get that necklace [from]?" "It's from Forever 21!" or "It's from my grandma!" work equally as an answer to either question.
    – Sarah
    Apr 5, 2016 at 16:00

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