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In an old stackexchange question (I don't remember which one) someone had posted an image of their English question paper. They wanted to know why the multiple-choice option 'd' would not work. This issue, I believe was resolved.

The question began with the sentence 'Vitamin C provides us the ability to resist disease'(The portion in italics is a modified reproduction of the original statement which I forgot).

What confused me was the usage 'provides us the ability'. Wouldn't 'provides us with the ability' be grammatically right? Or is the former usage acceptable (as in they mean the same thing)?

These are the Ngram results which shows a drastic difference between the usage rates. Google search too gives similar results (numbers of the latter exceed numbers of the former).

If they are different, I would like to know what idea 'with' emphasizes. Thanks in advance.

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"Provide" isn't normally used that way. When it means "to supply or to make available", it takes a prepositional phrase introduced by to or for.

Vitamin C provides the ability to resist disease to us.

You use with when it means to make something available.

"[W]hen provide is used transitively to mean "to make something available to," the thing being provided is usually named in a prepositional phrase introduced by with:

The bereaved woman was provided with a collection of gruesome anecdotes... "

Webster's Dictionary of English Usage

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Both are acceptable but one is more preferred over the other as Ngram confirms. Adding 'with' doesn't change the meaning of the sentence.

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