Could anyone explain to me why we need a preposition in the following question: Who did you tell the secret to?
The preposition "to" is needed at the end of the question "Who[m] did you tell the secret to?" because the interrogative pronoun "who[m]" functions as the object of that preposition. The question presupposes that you told the secret to someone. Consider the more formal version of the question:
To whom did you tell the secret?
Now, it's true that we have an indirect-object (or double-object) construction related to "You told the secret to someone," namely, "You told someone the secret." So you might think that the question word could be interpreted as the first of the two objects. However, that operation does not work well in English: "Who(m) did you tell __ the secret?" is felt to be incomplete and incorrect.
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