This is from the Little Prince, and the king says as below:

"One must command from each what each can perform," the king went on. "Authority is based first of all upon reason. If you command your subjects to jump into the ocean, there will be a revolution. I am entitled to command obedience because my orders are reasonable."

I don't understand why "from" is used here, since command is a transitive verb thus used without prepositions such as in "He commanded his men to retreat".

What's the use of "from" here?

If the sentence has no problem, than is "He commanded from his men to retreat" also acceptable?


1 Answer 1


Command is used here in the sense of require.

It's an oratorical way of saying command each person to give what they are capable of.

Command can be used both transitively (with a direct object) and intransitively (without one). Here it is being used intransitively.

But you can't say: commanded from his men to.....

You need to say: He commanded his men to retreat. Here, command is being used as a transitive verb and his men is the object.

So it depends on how the sentence is constructed.

For more on command, see: https://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/definition/english/command_2

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