Senior Member
Hello, everyone!

I got the sentence below from a dictionary.

1) The company has lost a lot of business to its competitors.

I have changed it into the #2 below since I found such a sentence as "His carelessness lost him the job"

2) The company has lost its competitors a lot of business.

The sentnece 'His carelessness lost him the job' seems to me to mean 'His carelessness made him lose the job'. So, I am wondering whether #2 also can mean 'The company made its competitiors lose a lot of business.' the ways the verb lose deals with the objects in #1 and #2 seems to me to be totally different and I'm confused. Could someone help me please?

Many thanks in advance!
  • entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    No, they're not equivalent. The two sentences you're starting from have different structures. One has one object plus a 'to'-phrase, and the other has two objects:

    (a) The company has lost [a lot of business] to its competitors.
    (b) His carelessness lost [him] [the job].

    This is similar to other two-object verbs, such as 'He gave [a present] to his friend' = 'He gave [his friend] [a present]'. The one object of one version becomes the second object of the other version. In both, a present was given. In your sentences, something was lost: in (a) 'a lot of business' was lost (the company lost business), because that's the only object; in (b) the second object was lost from the first object: the job was lost, and it was lost from him - he lost the job.

    In your sentence (2), it's still true that the second object is lost from the first object, but now the objects are different:

    2) The company has lost [its competitors] [a lot of business].

    'A lot of business' is what's lost, but the people who suffer from this are the first object, 'its competitors'. The company did something good: it gained business. As a result, its competitors lost business. The company cost its competitors a lot of business. (We wouldn't actually say (2) with 'lost', but we would with 'cost'.)