What is the exact difference in meaning between "I provide her with a TV" and "I provide her a TV" ?

Does "I provide her with a TV" mean "I own a TV. And I give her my own tv." ? Does "I provide her a TV" mean "I do not own a TV. Nevertheless, I give her a tv in any way." ?

What does "with" mean in the sentence? If we don't use with in the sentence, is there a difference in nuance?

4 Answers 4


The expression is provide [someone] with [something]. It says nothing about whether that thing is the provider's own, though if that were so, I give her my TV would be a more natural way of saying it.

I provide her a TV is not idiomatic English. We can say I provide a TV for her.

  • 3
    If a person were, say, narrating their actions in the present tense, I think "I provide her a TV" would be reasonable to say. Example: "The new employee arrives. I provide her a desk and a computer." In the past tense, it sounds more reasonable: "The new employee arrived. I provided her a desk and a computer."
    – drew
    Commented Jul 22, 2020 at 13:47
  • 10
    "'I provide her a TV' is not idiomatic English" I don't agree. Could be cultural. But probably not as you're only a few miles away :) Commented Jul 22, 2020 at 15:23
  • 7
    @KateBunting Yes, usually, but omitting the with is not unidiomatic. You can't get that from a dictionary; we call these things "facts on the ground". :) It's okay if you always use the "with" personally. Commented Jul 22, 2020 at 16:25
  • 2
    @CalvT If I provide 3 meals a day, I don't expect them to be returned to me... Commented Jul 22, 2020 at 16:35
  • 2
    @KateBunting Sorry if I wasn't clear. I'm not disputing the fundamentals of grammar, nor do I need a lesson in them from some website. I'm telling you what people I know actually say in real life. That's what idioms are. So, no, this is not unidiomatic. Commented Jul 22, 2020 at 18:11

Let's examine the sentence structure of both:

I [noun] provide [verb] her [direct object] with a TV [prepositional adverb] .

I [noun] provide [verb] her [direct object] a TV [indirect object] .

Both of these sentences convey the EXACT same information. The noun, verb, direct object are the same, and it is up to the speaker on how to convey the remainder - as either a prepositional adverb or a indirect object, which is just a difference in grammar and has no underlying importance in this example.

Neither sentence delivers any information about who owns the TV.

  • 2
    You swapped the direct and indirect objects in your second example. (And the first example, her is still also an indirect object)
    – ryanyuyu
    Commented Jul 22, 2020 at 21:32

You can also say: "I provide TV for her"

or: "TV, her I provide"

It all depends on how much of a robot do you want to sound like. Or it can also depend on how much like a robot you want to sound.


I provide her with a TV, because a TV is a tangible object. I provide for her - no tangible object; support is real but not an object I provide perspective - same as above, nothing tangible


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .