'To find somebody a place to live' vs 'To find a place to live for somebody'

clapec

Senior Member
Italian
'To find somebody a place to live' vs 'To find a place to live for somebody' vs 'To find a place for somebody to live': which is the right one?
Thank you!
 
  • judkinsc

    Senior Member
    English, USA
    They're all pretty much the same. The nuances of each would change only in context and depending on how the speaker uses it.

    Any one will work.
     

    jo :)

    New Member
    English - England
    Personally I wouldn't say 'to find a place to live for somebody', I think it sounds a bit strange, but maybe that's just me.
     

    foxfirebrand

    Senior Member
    Southern AE greatly modified by a 1st-generation Scottish-American mother, and growing up abroad.
    The first and third sound most idiomatic to me, the second clunks a little in my ear.

    "I'm trying to find somebody a place to live" works best if "somebody" is specific-- I want to find my friend Ugly Judith a place to live. I would choose this over the other two, probably because I prefer the indirect object, in proper syntax, to a prepositional adverbial phrase.

    "I want to find a place to live for..." Now this is the awkward one, and sounds to me most natural if "somebody" is general, as general as possible. I want to find a place to live for everyone who can't afford decent housing. Even better to make "a place" more specific-- "I want to find a decent place to live for everyone who can't afford it."

    "I need to find a place for my mother-in-law to live." This is very natural to me, but again, the statments in the abstract sound odd. You don't start out with a need to find someone a place to live, and then get around to the info about who it is.

    I don't mean this as a correction, and I know you put the phrases in general form so they could be discussed grammatically, in a definitive way. But the nuances show up in particulars-- at first I didn't think the second example was very idiomatic at all, but when I supplied particulars I realized that the more general or conceptual the place-needing person was, the better it sounded.

    Finally, "to live" sounds a little superfluous in the third example. "I want to find a place for my friend" conveys "place to live," and the first example "I want to find my friend a place"-- well, that pretty much does too, but it raises a slight question that "to live" puts to rest. Parts of a sentence that could almost be dispensed with sound better at the end of the sentence.

    .
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top