A birthday present

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Senior Member
Which is the better way to say?

1) I gave my wife a mobile phone for/on her birthday.
2) I gave my wife a mobile phone as a present/gift for/on her birthday.
3) I presented my wife with a mobile phone on her birthday.

Any other suggestions?
  • heypresto

    Senior Member
    English - England
    For me, 'I gave my wife a mobile phone for her birthday' is the best. It implies it was a gift, so you don't need to make that explicit. It doesn't, however, necessarily mean that you gave it to her on her birthday.

    'I presented my wife . . . ' sounds a little too grand.


    Senior Member
    UK English
    Numbers 1 and 2 come to the same thing.
    But number 3 is not a very natural way of saying the above, at least in speech. It suggests the formal giving of a present and making it a special occasion. In writing it would sound alright as a stylistic variant of the other sentences.


    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    "For" describes the reason for the gift. Maybe you gave her the phone a day or two before her birthday, but she knew that her birthday was the reason.

    "On" describes the date of the gift. We are left to infer that the birthday was the reason. Perhaps it wasn't, as in the sentence "I gave my wife a cold on her birthday." It wasn't a birthday present, so you would not say "I gave my wife a cold for her birthday" except as a joke. The date was a coincidence.

    I agree with heypresto and e2efour: "presented" suggests that you gave her the phone in front of 200 people wearing tuxedos and evening gowns, with television cameras and newspaper reporters recording the occasion. Use the less formal "gave" for a family birthday present.
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