'belong to' or 'belong with'

Discussion in 'English Only' started by marinesea, Aug 22, 2005.

  1. marinesea Senior Member


    i'm a little bit confused about the prepositions which go with the verb 'belong'. The dictionaries, which I've searched for this word, say it should be 'belong to', but I heard it as 'belong with' in many movies.

    Is 'belong with' a correct form? If yes, is there any difference between them?

    Thank you :)
  2. Tabac Senior Member

    Pacific Northwest (USA)
    U. S. - English
    "Belong to" denotes ownership: That car belongs to me.
    "Belong with" means that things should be together: You belong to me. (It isn't used in very many contexts.)
  3. Aupick

    Aupick Senior Member

    Strasbourg, France
    UK, English
    It's true that you do hear 'belong with', but I think the meaning is different from 'belong to'. Here's my take on what it is:

    'Belong to' describes ownership: the blue 1963 Ford Thunderbird belongs to me, the rusty 1989 Dodge belongs to you. It's the traditional sense of 'belong'.

    'Belong with' describes similarity and where something should be categorised: in a library Dickens belongs with Hardy and Austen.

    You can also use 'belong' with other prepositions as well: 'Your Dodge belongs on the scrap heap, Dickens belongs in 19th century, etc.
  4. marinesea Senior Member

    So in most of the contexts it should be 'You belong with me'? Does it sound sound ok?

    Thank you
  5. Aupick

    Aupick Senior Member

    Strasbourg, France
    UK, English
    'You belong with me' suggests that destiny has thrown the two of you together, that you are a perfect match, made for each other like yin and yang. It's very romantic.

    'You belong to me' probably used to be said by husbands to wives but hopefully no longer is, since it suggests domination and ownership, rather like a master and slave. Let's just say it's not very romantic.
  6. GenJen54

    GenJen54 Senior Member

    Downright Pleasant, USA
    USA - English
    I agree with the others in the general sense that "you belong with me" is a much more romantic idea. Two lovers, fated to be together for eternity, "belong with each other."

    However, "belong to," reminded me of this very romantic song. It was written in the 1950's where I suppose there was more of a sense of people "belonging to" one another. I don't know that there is so much "ownership" implied, so much as exclusivity. A few of the lyrics are below:

    See the pyramids along the Nile
    Watch the sunrise on a tropic isle
    Just remember darlin' all the while
    You belong to me

    See the market place in Old Algiers
    Send me photographs and souvenirs
    Just remember when a dream appears
    You belong to me

    Written by Pee Wee King, Chilton Price and Redd Stewart

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