English as a Second Language/Follow-up (prepositions)


Dear Shannon,
Welcome back! I do hope you are fine!

RE: "Alaska is a dangerous place to live, as you can be killed by bears or get lost in the mountains."

Your answer was that is it optional to use "in" after "live"
Your exact words: "The same reason we can say, "This restaurant is a great place to eat."  It simply makes sense grammatically as it is written.  The "in" only adds emphasis."

However, I kindly request you to consider the following:

BOB: Being middle class involves a number of factors good education, a good job, sometimes owning your own home and having a number of possessions like a car or a TV.

Neil: Its quite a privileged or comfortable position to be in but the most important factor is having disposable income thats spare money to spend on more than just things you need for everyday survival, like food.

My comment: "...position to be in". Is "in" optional here?

Today were talking about class. This is something of an obsession with British people; its something they talk about and think about all the time! So Neil, what class are you lower, middle or upper?

My comment: "...something they talk about and think about..." What about this "about"?

Thanks a lot!
Kind regards,
Antoine Ghannoum

In the case with "talk" and "something", a preposition is usually required.  I have seen "Let's talk computers," but this is not really considered correct.  It should be, "Let's talk about computers."

We would also need "in" with "Position to be in" as we are typically "in a position" when the phrase is rewritten.

Example comparison: "It's a wonderful place to be" vs. "It's a wonderful place to be at."  Sometimes a verb, in the context it appears, just doesn't require a preposition.  It may be flexible enough to accommodate transitive, intransitive, and even alternative meanings.  Or it may be that the object it takes requires a certain preposition in colloquial usage ("be in a position").

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Shannon Cole


I can answer questions related to learning the English and Spanish language.


I have taught ESL and Spanish since 1998 at the university and middle school levels. I am a native of the U.S., and have taught in both the U.S. and Mexico.

I am owner and operator of www.coleinstitute.com, an online language school.

Georgia TESOL in Action (1999)

B.A. in Spanish; M.Ed. in Language Education

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I have clients worldwide, some who want their documents proofread, and others who take lessons with me through the Internet. Some work at high-profile companies and government organizations. Besides the U.S. and Mexico, my recent students come from South Korea, Switzerland, Turkey, Colombia, Russia, Italy, Paraguay, China, Japan, the Philippines, and Saudi Arabia.

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