provide, provide with

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

  1. Mr Bones

    Mr Bones Senior Member

    Madrid
    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]
    or
    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

    Madrid
    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...

    Thanks
     
  5. panjandrum

    panjandrum <<PongoMod>> EO'Moderator

    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

    English
    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?

    Jon
     
  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

    母国語:日本語
    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.

    Ws
    :)
     
  12. newham Member

    Spain
    Spanish - Spain
    So if you omit the person, should you omit the preposition or is it optional?
    I have the following sentence: "Aims of the study: to provide (with) a formula to calculate ....". I'm not sure whether or not to omit the preposition.
     
  13. entangledbank

    entangledbank Senior Member

    London
    English - South-East England
    'With' and the receiver go together (in BrE): you provide a formula, or you provide someone with a formula.
     
  14. newham Member

    Spain
    Spanish - Spain
    Thank you for providing me with such a quick answer!
     
  15. guilaK

    guilaK Member

    Iran
    Persian
    Hi everybody
    It seems here is the gist of what other friends said.Using or omitting the preposition " with" , depends on the indirect object or object pronoun that follows the verb " provide".I think we only use the preposition before an object pronoun or the object which refers to things,not persons.
     
  16. Wordsmyth

    Wordsmyth Senior Member

    Location: Mostly SW France
    Native language: English (BrE)
    I don't see that, guilaK:

    Not only did the organisers make a car available; they also provided us with a driver.

    The king was desperate to find a wife who would provide the country with an heir to the throne.

    Ws
     
  17. semeeran Senior Member

    Indian Tamil, India
    1. The store provides excellent service to its customers.
    2. The store provides excellent service for its customers.
    3. The store provides its customers with excellent service.
    Please correct if they are found to be wrong.
    Thanks.
     
  18. guilaK

    guilaK Member

    Iran
    Persian
    Dear wordsmyth
    That was my understanding of the posts above.Maybe it is not true.But I think your reasoning proves my idea .Because the word driver is the name of a job so it is not a person and it is something.It is also the case for heir to the throne.I'm saying the preposition with, can not be used before a personal object pronoun in those types of sentences.( me,you,him,her,us,them).Thanks for your time.
     
  19. Wordsmyth

    Wordsmyth Senior Member

    Location: Mostly SW France
    Native language: English (BrE)
    That's a very strange definition.:eek: A driver is a person; an heir is a person. If a driver speaks to me, it's not a job speaking to me. As far as I know, jobs don't speak!

    But now that you've re-expressed your theory, let's take another look ...
    Bloggs has just been elected President. We had hoped the election would provide the country with an effective new leader; but it's provided us with him, and he's useless.

    That looks to me very much like 'provide ... with' used (perfectly correctly) before a personal pronoun!

    The explanations given by earlier posters just happened to use "provide [someone] with [something]" as examples, because such scenarios are more commonly encountered. But that doesn't exclude other possibilities, as my examples have shown.

    Ws
     
  20. guilaK

    guilaK Member

    Iran
    Persian
    Hi
    Thanks for your explanation.I had,nt said my definition was correct .But thank you very much.
     

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