give (a) way

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Ivan_I

Banned
Russian
There must be a difference between "give way to" and "give a way to". But I don't understand it. What is it?

1 The horse had to give way to the tractor.
2 The horse had to give a way to the tractor.
 
  • velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    The idiom is "give way" - let the other person (or vehicle) pass.

    If you add the article, it sounds very odd. You shouldn't mess around with set expressions.

    (Adding the definite article would also be wrong, but it would sound a little less strange because the horse and the tractor are on a single way or path, which might be thought of as "the way". The horse must cede the way to the tractor. "A way" suggests that there are several to choose from.)
     

    reno33

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    give way = make room for someone (usually to pass).

    give away = to give an object to someone else usually permanently, as: "The American father gave away his daughter in marriage to a Qatari prince for a hefty sum of money".

    give a way = does not exist. Needs further terms to mean something........such as......a way out.

    A gave B a way out means A showed B how to resolve his problem.
     

    reno33

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    2 The horse had to give a way to the tractor.
    To answer your original question, no, the above quoted sentence is not possible in English. It is meaningless.

    (If you keep changing your question, you will, of course, eventually, pick a correct version.....but you could keep changing your question for several hundred years before hitting on a winner.)
     

    Ivan_I

    Banned
    Russian
    I have found this:

    Give me way, to pass through with the mules; and ye shall afterwards indulge your weeping, when I have carried him home. (
    The Iliad of Homer, translated into English prose)

    So, "Give me way!" seems to be possible.
     

    S1m0n

    Senior Member
    English
    That is not a modern English translation. I'm not sure what decade or century the translator was aiming at, but it is not now.
     
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