Tell me please which of the following sentences is correct.

  1. The best advice parents give their children is to be kind to others.
  2. The best advice parents give to their children is to be kind to others.

It seems to me that both sentences might be correct.

1 Answer 1


give is a double-object verb: the direct object is WHAT you give, and the indirect object is WHO you give it to. If the word order is verb-DO-IO, a to is required. If the word order is verb-IO-DO, no to is required.

I gave a book to him
I gave him a book.

When you use the verb within a relative clause the direct object is at the front of the sentence, so either form is acceptable:

the best advice that parents can give their children is....
the best advice that parents can give to their children is....

This NGRAM shows that the version without to is more common.

Note that the idiomatic usage is to include the word can. This suggests that it is possible for parents to give this advice, rather than that they always give this advice.

  • "To this end, I give to you the best and most important available knowledge ..." - would be this case correct too?
    – Serg
    Jul 2, 2018 at 18:42
  • 1
    @Sergey, yes that is correct, but it sounds quite old-fashioned, formal... even pompous. This NGram shows that including to in this context is extremely uncommon. books.google.com/ngrams/…
    – JavaLatte
    Jul 3, 2018 at 2:41
  • 1
    Thank you! It's from the book published in 2011, but the author of that book was born in 1908. Interesting that from that diagram the use of the expression "I give you the.. " decreases.
    – Serg
    Jul 3, 2018 at 10:36
  • 1
    I wouldn't have answered this question as efficiently. Congrats.
    – Kaique
    Mar 12, 2019 at 14:38

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