Consult and consult with

  • timtfj

    Senior Member
    UK English
    If you consult with someone then you each consult the other, on an equal footing. For example:
    • [*=1]"What time do you and your wife want to visit us this evening?"[*=1]"I don't know---I need to consult with her first"[*=1]The two of you then consult with each other to agree what answer to give.
    If you consult someone, they have some information or an opinion, and you go to them in order to get it from them. It only happens in one direction. For example:
    • [*=1]If you feel ill, you should consult a doctor.
      [*=1]To check the meaning of a word, I consult my dictionary.
     
    Last edited:

    Lorne

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I admit that BE is changing but I would not agree with timtfj.
    When I hear “Consult with” I think “Here’s another Americanism creeping in!”
    I would only ever use “consult” as in “You should consult a doctor” and in “I need to consult my wife.”
    Something similar appears to be happening with “We’re going to visit them” (which I would say) and, as I have heard on more than one occasion fairly recently, “We’re going to visit with them”. Ugh!
     

    Chasint

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I want to know what the difference is if any, between "consult and consult with".
    I have read the previous two answers and I agree more with Lorne.

    My answer is simple:

    American English: consult with
    British English: consult
     

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    My answer is simple:

    American English: consult with
    British English: consult
    It's not that cut-and-dried, Biffo. We use both and make a distinction between "consult" and "consult with"; Tim (post #2) has spelled out the AE difference (which appears to be one observed by some BE speakers) very nicely.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    It's not that cut-and-dried, Biffo. We use both and make a distinction between "consult" and "consult with"; Tim (post #2) has spelled out the AE difference (which appears to be one observed by some BE speakers) very nicely.
    Good point, Parla.

    I don't think BrE - yet - makes the same distinction between "consult" and "consult with" as AmE does: we normally use only "consult".

    But we'll probably follow you in the end, as Lorne suggests!:D
     

    Ivan_I

    Banned
    Russian
    So, to consult means to ask for information.
    I need to consult a lawyer. = I need to get some info from a lawyer.

    What does a lawyer do then? Does a lawyer give consultations or what?
    to give professional or expert advice; serve as consultant.

    A lawyer consults for people.

    Right?
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    If you say I need to consult a lawyer, you just mean I need to get some professional legal advice. Otherwise, the words “consult” and “consultation” are not generally used in that context.

    However, it’s different with regard to the medical profession. The word “consultation” is widely used in the medical field, and high-ranking hospital doctors have the official title of “consultant”.

    More generally, to consult someone about something often means to seek their opinion/advice, rather than to ask them for information, as such.
     

    Ivan_I

    Banned
    Russian
    OK, Lingo!
    So, if I want to use a verb to express the idea of a lawyer giving a counsel to people should I say

    A lawyer consults for people.
    I want a lawyer to consult for me.
     
    Last edited:

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    No, sorry:

    A lawyer consults for people.:cross:
    I want a lawyer to consult for me.:cross:
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    So, if I want to use a verb to express the idea of a lawyer giving a counsel to people should I say
    A lawyer consults for people.
    I want a lawyer to consult for me.
    I’ve never heard of “consulting for” anyone, although I can imagine that term being used in relation to someone acting as an economic consultant to a large corporation, or anything else at that level.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Speaking as one who has been employed as a consultant, I do not consult for anyone. Others consult me. I give specialist advice, or create specialist products.
    It is a strange world in which the title of the occupation appears to describe what the clients do, not what the holder of the occupation does :)
     

    Ivan_I

    Banned
    Russian
    I beg your pardon but how would you explain this usage?
    To consult <with><to> someone [AmE]

    I have also been a consultant for a few firms (after I retired from my long-time employer). Describing the interaction in normal English terms "The firms consult (with) me"; in business circles, I am a consultant for them, I consult for them; and in contracts for such work "I perform/provide consulting services".
    Seems like JulianStuart misuses "consult for"....
    PS:
    panjandrum, the world is likely to be strange but not because of what you pointed out... because "to consult" doesn't work that strange way in every language. However, in English it does.
     

    Oswinw011

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Hi, although a long thread, the op hasn't seen a solution with regard to the proper register of the phrase. Having leafed through the examples in this post and many dictionaries, I found that "consult with" often goes with lawyers, doctors and whatnot--viz. some experts. But here's a situation:
    I'm a newbie in coding. And I usually post questions on programming forums asking for help. Some skilled programmer, not necessarily a whizz or an expert, kindly replied to my posts. We exchanged a few ideas.

    Can I say: I consulted with skilled programmers on the forum whenever I could use some help? Thanks.
     
    Top