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Hi, Language learner,

Next time, please number your sentences for ease of reference. Thank you.

1. I felt lonely at times. I needed people to share my life.

2. I felt lonely at times. I needed people to share my life with.

Both sentences are correct, but if you want to mean that you needed people to share your life with them (which is the more likely interpretation), then you have to use (2).

Sentence (1) is a bit odd. It may mean that you wanted people for them to share your life, or for you to share your life (though not necessarily with them).

Let's consider a similar pair of sentences:

3. I needed people to speak.

4. I needed people to speak with.

Sentence (3) may mean that you wanted people to speak (you wanted to hear their voices), or that you needed the company or the sight of people to speak (perhaps with others, not with them).

Instead, sentence (4) clearly expresses that you needed people to speak with them.

Hi, Language learner,

Next time, please number your sentences for ease of reference. Thank you.

Both sentences are correct, but if you want to mean that you needed people to share your life with them (which is the more likely interpretation), then you have to use (2).

Sentence (1) is a bit odd. It may mean that you wanted people for them to share your life, or for you to share your life (though not necessarily with them).



2. I felt lonely at times. I needed people to share my life with.

Can I interpret (2) as:

I needed people in order to share my life with.



1. I felt lonely at times. I needed people to share my life.

As you said, (1) has multiple possible interpretations. Can the following be one of its possible interpretations?

I needed people that I could share my life with.

2. I felt lonely at times. I needed people to share my life with.

Can I interpret (2) as:

I needed people in order to share my life with.

That is ungrammatical. You can say:

- I needed people in order to share my life with them.

However, sentence (2) is more idiomatic. "to share my life with" is a non-finite relative clause, equivalent to "with whom to share my life." You don't need an adverbial clause of purpose.

1. I felt lonely at times. I needed people to share my life.

As you said, (1) has multiple possible interpretations. Can the following be one of its possible interpretations?

I needed people that I could share my life with.

I'd like to see what David can tell us, but — as I see it — the sentence above with the stranded preposition "with" is equivalent to (2):

- I needed people I could share my life with = I needed people with whom I could share my life.

- I needed people to share my life with = I needed people with whom to share my life.

As I said, sentence (1) is odd and vague in meaning. The preposition "with" completes the intended meaning.

Last edited by Gustavo, Contributor

1. I felt lonely at times. I needed people to share my life.

As you said, (1) has multiple possible interpretations. Can the following be one of its possible interpretations?

I needed people that I could share my life with.

I'd like to see what David can tell us, but — as I see it — the sentence above with the stranded preposition "with" is equivalent to (2):

- I needed people I could share my life with = I needed people with whom I could share my life.

- I needed people to share my life with = I needed people with whom to share my life.

As I said, sentence (1) is odd and vague in meaning. The preposition "with" completes the intended meaning.

I completely agree with you, Gustavo, that "with" is needed for the "with"-meaning. Sentence (1) cannot be interpreted to mean "I needed people that I could share my life with," even if one could guess that the latter was what someone who speaks very little English meant to say. Similarly, "I needed people to dance" cannot mean "I needed people to dance with."

Last edited by David, Moderator

Like Gustavo said, sentence 1 has a different meaning. It's the sense of direction: sentence 1 means you want other people to come and share your life. You want them to come into your life and share it - it's kind of not a reciprocal thing. Sentence 2 means you want to go and share your life with others, and be reciprocal about it - to share back and forth. I think that sentence 1 is correct, if you want to use it in that sense - but, like Gustavo said, it's not what someone would usually say, because of the meaning. Sentence 2 is more correct because of culture/social aspects/meaning.

Sentence 2 means you want to go and share your life with others, and be reciprocal about it - to share back and forth. I think that sentence 1 is correct, if you want to use it in that sense . . .

"I needed people to share my life" does not mean "I needed people to share my life with." "I needed people to share my life" can mean either (a) or (b):

(a) The speaker needs for people to share his or her life (with others).

(b) The speaker needs people to accomplish his or her purpose of sharing his or her life (cf. "I needed people in order to share my life").

There is a sense in which reading (b) may be seen to imply "I needed people with whom to share my life." But it's on a pragmatic, not a grammatical, level.

  • I need people. If I have people, I will be able to share my life. Whom will I share my life with if I have people? Why, with those very people!
Last edited by David, Moderator

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