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".

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    I don't find either expression condescending . . . Jan 12, 2019 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). Jan 12, 2019 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, 2019 at 20:54
  • Having read the question again, I see it is about a different meaning of "grant/give" but my observation still stands. Jan 13, 2019 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. Jan 13, 2019 at 0:16

2 Answers 2


'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.


  • 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. Jan 13, 2019 at 16:51

In American English, it's not really condescending. It just seems like the person is speaking archaically. Wh typically use give in almost every circumstance, except a few. Legally, you can be granted things by court order or from a will. The only other time we use it is when we say "granted". Like "Granted, it was a large amount of money, but..."

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