to present something to someone / to present someone with something

Discussion in 'English Only' started by crookedo, Sep 28, 2009.

  1. crookedo New Member

    French - France
    Hello, I wanted to know if the native speakers of English felt a difference in meaning/perspective/emphasis between:
    - to present something to someone
    - to present someone with something

    I came across an article where the I found the line: "McChrystal will probably present the Pentagon with a range of options" translated by a journalist << into French>>.

    Thank you very much!
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 3, 2014
  2. Novanas Senior Member

    English AE/Ireland
    In your sentence about McChrystal "present with" means "to give or offer". But present can have different meanings.

    My dictionary gives as an example, "He presented a brave face to the world." In this case, "present to" means "to show".

    Just looking at my dictionary I can see that "present" is a tricky word.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 15, 2013
  3. Dri18 Member

    English (UK)
    <----This thread has been merged with another on the same topic.----->

    Despite being a native English speaker, I'm having trouble deciding whether "to present something to someone" is exactly the same as "to present someone with something". In the case of the sentence I am currently editing, are "participants presented with technical alternatives" or are "technical alternatives presented to participants"? (Or both, of course.)

    I think I am just going round in circles and both are fine, but I have a mental glitch that is telling me that you present someone with a prize, or an award, or a gift (a single item), rather than technical options (multiple items to choose from).

    Feedback appreciated!
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 3, 2014
  4. Susan Y Senior Member

    British English
    Hello there, Dri. I hope you are not lying awake worrying about this!

    My take:

    You present someone with something (or some things); you present something (or some things) to someone.
    I think either way is fine, and the meaning is the same.

    In your context, "present to" in association with "participants" makes me think of someone giving a powerpoint presentation at a conference. If this is not what you mean, then the first sentence might be clearer: "Participants (are) presented with technical alternatives".

    But, actually I think either version is fine. Sleep well!
  5. Dri18 Member

    English (UK)
    Hello Susan Y, a belated but hearty thanks for your response. Rest assured that I was not lying awake worrying about it, but glad I was on the mark. You know how it is when you get so caught up in a word or phrase that you lose your ability to write basic English...!

Share This Page