consult something with someone

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Atna, Feb 17, 2013.

  1. Atna Senior Member

    Buenos Aires
    Español - Argentina
    Hello. I know that it is correct to say consult someone about something. But I understand that consult cannot be used as a transitive verb if the object is a person, that is, it is wrong to say consult something with someone, as in "They consulted the draft with him" or "The draft was consulted with him prior to its approval". Please, could anyone confirm this?
    Thank you!
  2. grahamcracker Senior Member

    It can.

    I would say: They consulted with him about the draft.

    I guess I wouldn't use "the draft" as the subject of the sentence.
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2013
  3. Atna Senior Member

    Buenos Aires
    Español - Argentina
    Ok, but is it wrong to say "They consulted the draft with him"?
  4. grahamcracker Senior Member

    Yes, it is wrong. I think you want to say that the person is the one being consulted concerning changes in the draft, but the sentence makes no sense as you phrased it. The person is the one who is giving the opinion, not the draft. I added a dictionary link to show how a person or a document can be consulted. A dictionary can be consulted. But the dictionary is the authority.
  5. Atna Senior Member

    Buenos Aires
    Español - Argentina
    Thanks a lot, grahamcracker.
  6. PaulQ

    PaulQ Senior Member

    English - England
    This is not so: “I consulted John.” Consulted is transitive and the object is John.

    1. "I consulted John" = I asked John's opinion.
    2. "I consulted the map" = I looked at the map (for confirmation)
    2a. "We consulted the draft" -> John and I consulted the draft -> I consulted the draft with John.

    "Who was with you when you consulted the draft?"
    "I consulted the draft with John." (But see below)

    This is a different matter – the problem is ‘with’ – together with works fine: “They consulted the map together with John.” i.e. "They and John consulted the map."

    The problem with the preposition with is that it indicates both an accompanying object/person[3] or an instrument / means[4]:

    3. "I went to town with John." I accompanied John to town
    4. “He hit the nail with a hammer” – i.e. he used a hammer as an instrument to hit the nail.

    I cannot see in the example, any indication that there is a consultation regarding changes to the draft, the people consulting it may merely wish to look at it for some reason.
  7. Atna Senior Member

    Buenos Aires
    Español - Argentina
    Ok, PaulQ. But the meaning of the sentence "they consulted the draft with him" in the context where it appears is, as grahamcracker guessed (I'm sorry for not having given some context), that they consulted him about whether the draft was ok or not.
    Thanks a lot anyway!
  8. Cagey post mod (English Only / Latin)

    English - US
    In my experience, when we consult a person or an object, we are getting information from them.

    The subject about which we want the information would be introduced by 'about, regarding, concerning', and so on, as people above have explained. :)
  9. grahamcracker Senior Member

    I suppose there are scenarios in which a person COULD consult a draft, but I was interpreting your intention. It did not appear to me that such rare scenarios were what you wanted. A draft is normally some document that is temporary. A draft is something to which a person is seeking to make changes and alterations.
  10. Atna Senior Member

    Buenos Aires
    Español - Argentina
    Thanks to all of you. You've been very helpful.

Share This Page