provide, provide with

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Mr Bones, Oct 7, 2005.

  1. Mr Bones

    Mr Bones Senior Member

    España - Español
    Hello, friends. I think I can use the verb provide with the preposition with or without it. Could anyone explain both cases to me, please? I tried to figure them out by myself, but I'm still dubious.

    I can't decide if this question should be in the Grammar thread, either.

    Thanks, Mr Bones.
  2. Aupick

    Aupick Senior Member

    Strasbourg, France
    UK, English
    I think the difference is one of syntax. Both versions have two objects, a person who receives and a thing that is given. Either of these can be the direct object. The other will be followed by a preposition, or omitted. So you can say either:

    provide [RECEIVER] with [SOMETHING]
    provide [SOMETHING] (for [RECEIVER])

    Some examples of the first use:
    - We will provide all conference participants with a name badge and a glossy brochure.
    - Try office 231. They'll provide you with the form you need.

    Some examples of the second:
    - The company will provide free drinks and pizza for all conference participants.
    - Just bring yourself. We'll provide the canoe, the wetsuit, the helmet and the paddle.

    (Be careful not to omit the 'with [SOMETHING]' in the first case. If you try saying 'We will provide all conference participants', 'conference participants' are transformed into the thing being given. I dread to think who to. :eek: )
  3. Mr Bones

    Mr Bones Senior Member

    España - Español
    Thank you, Aupick. As always, you've been very clear and helpful. Mr Bones.
  4. wsilmas Member

    Italy- Italian
    could I use provide without preposition?
    Ex: we provide them a project with the best solutions of.....
    or I must say:
    we provide them with a project with the best solutions of...

  5. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    The first version (without with) would be understood, but sounds wrong to me.
    No explanation or justification, sorry, it just sounds wrong.
  6. Outback Sandman New Member

    Australia, English
    I'm not quite sure how to explain properly, but if you look at the examples..

    They'll provide you with the form you need...
    could also be expressed as:
    They'll provide the form you need...

    We provide them with a project with....
    could also be expressed as:
    We provide a project with...

    So, if you omit the object or pronoun 'you' or 'them' then you can also omit the proposition 'with'

    Don't know if this helps! :eek:
  7. Yôn Senior Member

    I think most of the ‘provide...with’ expressions given so far sound just dandy without the ‘with.’ Any reason why you all like it so much?

  8. bikoalive Member

    South Africa
    The way international students learn verbs usually is either "Verb + Object + to + Person" or "Verb + Person + Object." Why is the usage of "Provide" different from that of other verbs?

    E.g. give an orrange to you or give you an orange.
    INCORRECT - provide you an orange; provide an orrange to you
    Corerct - provide you with an orange; provide an orange for you.
  9. karlalou Senior Member

    My dictionary says American English allows 'provide' to be used without preposition 'with', e.g. Chickens provide us eggs.
    Also 'furnish' and 'supply' are said that they are used in the same way in American English.
    I was looking for some examples for them on Google and encountered this thread. :)
  10. Mahantongo

    Mahantongo Senior Member

    English (U.S.)
    Welcome, karlalou.

    There is no reason why your dictionary should limit this statement to American English. The word "provide" can be used without the preposition "with" in any form of English. You can easily say, for example, "the cool breeze that evening provided a welcome relief from the heat of the day" in British or Australian English, and not just American English.
  11. Wordsmyth

    Wordsmyth Senior Member

    Location: Mostly SW France
    Native language: English (BrE)
    I think there is a reason for karlalou's dictionary to show that particular example as American English. In BrE we wouldn't usually say "Chickens provide us eggs". We'd say "Chickens provide us with eggs".

    Your example, Mahantongo, is different: there's no pronoun or noun phrase indicating to whom the welcome relief is being provided.

    In BrE, the normal constructions are:

    - Chickens provide eggs.
    - Chickens provide us with eggs.

    - T
    he cool breeze that evening provided a welcome relief from the heat of the day.
    - The cool breeze that evening provided us with a welcome relief from the heat of the day.

    In that last example, I wouldn't omit "with" unless I also omitted "us".

    From the previous posts in this thread, it seems that view is shared by two other UK English (including one top-end Irish) speakers, as well as one Australian. Only Yôn (whose origins we don't know, but he/she may be American) seemed happy to drop "with" in such cases. Would you also do that, Mahantongo? If so, that would suggest that karlalou's dictionary isn't entirely wrong.


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