Why is the following sentence grammatically correct?

We were afraid that the rickety bed would give under the the weight of ten people.

I think that it should be '.....give up under the weight.....'

  • 3
    According to dictionaries, "to give" can mean "to bend". "the rickety bed would give(bend) under the weight of ten people" is correct.
    – dan
    Apr 19, 2021 at 3:46
  • When structures collapse, whether under excessive weight or for other reasons, they are said to give way. The bridge gave way under the weight of the train.** (To give way: (of a support or structure) be unable to carry a load or withstand a force; collapse or break.) Apr 19, 2021 at 9:08

1 Answer 1


As dan said:

"To give up" is a phrasal verb, and it could be correct in this sentence. This would be anthropomorphizing (attributing human emotions to) the rickety bed, and it would have the connotation of breaking completely.

But! "To give" is also a perfectly acceptable verb. It can mean "to break" or "to collapse," but it can also carry the less-catastrophic meaning "to flex/bend." (Though in the context of the sentence the more destructive meaning is probably intended.)

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