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I wonder if, for American native English speakers, it is more condescending to use "I grant you" than "I give you"? (I raised my question this way just to make it specific; I do not have a preconception about which one is more rude than the other.)

For instance, saying "I will grant you two weeks" versus "I will give you two weeks".

Thank you.

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    I don't find either expression condescending . . . – Jason Bassford Jan 12 at 19:41
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    In Britain, when conceding, in conversation, a point someone has made in an argument or debate, "I'll give you that" and "I'll grant you that" would have equal levels of condescension (i.e. zero). – Michael Harvey Jan 12 at 19:41
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    Michael Harvey's observation about conversational debates in Britain is also true in the US. – Lorel C. Jan 12 at 20:54
  • Having read the question again, I see it is about a different meaning of "grant/give" but my observation still stands. – Michael Harvey Jan 13 at 0:14
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    People in authority "grant" things to subordinates or applicants, e.g. permission, licences (or "licenses") but there is, at least in British English, no strong implication of condescension in "grant" compared to "give". Grant is more precise. – Michael Harvey Jan 13 at 0:16
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'Give' and 'grant' can have different uses. 'Give' can be used in a wide sense to refer to any act of providing someone with something. Something given may or may not have been asked for, whereas 'grant' often has a narrower sense of giving, or agreeing to give, something that another person has asked for, especially as an official or formal act. To the extent that the person who grants something has the power to agree or refuse do so, there is an imbalance of power between the person who grants and the person who requests. Condescension means "Having or showing an attitude of patronizing superiority", Someone who is your equal who says 'I will grant you fifty pounds' when you ask them informally for a loan could be said to be acting in a condescending manner, but they could simply be confused about the difference in meaning.

Give
Grant
Condescend

  • Somebody might also say "I will grant you fifty pounds" because they think that you have no right to be asking them for a loan, and they want to emphasize that they are doing you a favor. But I agree that there are times when "grant" could be condescending. – Peter Shor Jan 13 at 16:51

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