As far as I know

He married her.

may have two different meanings:

  1. He made her married to smb.

  2. He was married to her.

Is it actually true?

And is there any difference between

  1. He was married to her.

  2. He married to her.

  • 2
    "He married to her" is wrong. Have you seen it used anywhere?
    – stangdon
    Commented Dec 6, 2021 at 12:27
  • 1
    I wouldn't interpret He married her to mean 1). He married her off would be the usual way to phrase it. Commented Dec 6, 2021 at 12:34
  • 2
    Resolve ambiguity by counting objects. Verb 'marry' with one object - become the husband or wife of someone - Peter married Farida, Mary married Paolo. Verb 'marry' with two objects - perform marriage ceremony for two other people - the priest married Jane and Evelyn; the town registrar married Simon and Lesley. No preposition (e.g. 'to'). Commented Dec 6, 2021 at 12:35
  • 2
    @xyz: It's a mistake in that Wikipedia article. Perhaps it was translated from Dutch using Google Translate. It should be "In 1599 he married Geertruid Hooft". Commented Dec 6, 2021 at 13:06
  • 2
    In a historical context, a wealthy man was often said to have 'married his daughter to X' meaning that he arranged for her and X to be married - see this NGram. But no-one would say that nowadays. Commented Dec 6, 2021 at 13:32

2 Answers 2


"He married her" really only has one commonly used meaning today.

The vast majority of the time it means "He got married to her" but occasionally it means "He was the official (Minister/Celebrant/Registrar) that performed the marriage ceremony upon her"

In a tiny number of cases, it may mean "He (typically her father) forced her to get married (to an unspecified individual)" but this is thankfully quite rare.

"He married to her", as noted by several others, is not grammatical - the most likely normal usage would be: "He GOT married to her"

  • Occasionally you might hear, "He married her off," which again means that the father arranged or facilitated the marriage (usually with the unpleasant implication that the daughter was a burden to him that he is now relieved of). Commented Dec 6, 2021 at 17:17

The verb "to marry" can be used in two different ways, as you mentioned - it can refer to the action of one person being joined in marriage to another, but it can also refer to the act of officiating over a marriage.

In usage, it is rarely ambiguous. 'Marrying' literally means the bringing of two things together, so it is unlikely than you would say of the person that officiated over your wedding "he married me" - you would more likely say that "he married us", to include your spouse.

Your second set of examples are unrelated to the question, and the second of the set is wrong. If you don't want to say that someone was married to someone, then you should say they are (or 'is') married to them.

  • 1
    You can be figurative and say that someone married two things to make a new thing, e.g. marry oil and vinegar to make salad dressing Commented Dec 6, 2021 at 15:46

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