1.1 He bought me a new coat.
1.2 He bought a new coat for me.

2.1 He chose me the coat.
2.2 He chose the coat for me.

Both 1.1 and 1.2 are from OALD, while 2.1 and 2.2 are mine. Can the latter be made and used as the same pattern as the former?

  • 2.1 is just wrong. 2.2 is correct, though haven't heard someone choosing a coast for somebody!! ;) – Manish Giri Sep 1 '14 at 22:53
  • Is there some reason you think the construction is the same? Adding such information would be helpful. Otherwise you might just get "no". – user3169 Sep 1 '14 at 23:10
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    Aside: I'd use call for rather than select in your title, as select is a little too active / requires a bit too much agency for use with an inanimate subject, whereas call for can be used in the sense of cause to be necessary; require. – Esoteric Screen Name Sep 2 '14 at 7:05
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    @EsotericScreenName Thank you for your comment. I changed the title. – Listenever Sep 2 '14 at 13:30

Both of your sentences are acceptable. However, they are likely to appear in slightly different contexts. Note that with the definite article, the coat, the coat must already have been mentioned or must be defined immediately.

He chose me the coat is unlikely to appear except with an adjunct specifying which coat he chose: He chose me the coat with the fur collar, He chose me the new coat he had promised.

He chose the coat for me will usually appear with an emphasis somewhere in the preposition phrase, either on for (signifying that he chose the coat because I was unwilling or unable to choose for myself) or or me (signifying that the coat was intended for me rather than someone else).

Designating the beneficiary of an action (Indirect Object) with a noun or bare object pronoun before the Direct Object is quite common in casual speech; it is not restricted to those verbs which dictionaries recognize as ‘ditransitive’.

The band played John his favorite song.
If you'll open me this jar of pickled beets I'll fix you a salad.
IT installed us a new app to handle versioning.

The construction is not so common in formal texts, but it is acceptable:

In 1528 [Henry VIII] owned a carcanet with H and K, for himself and Katharine of Aragon, and later Holbein designed him a pendant with H and I for himself and Jane Seymour. —Joan Evans, A History of Jewelry, 1100-1870, 1970.

  • One query, sir. If I say this to my daughter... I have bought you a doll and I have bought a doll for you -they seem to be different. In former case, my daughter has seen the doll because I took her to the shop and got her the doll, but in the latter case, she's just informed and has not yet seen the doll. Suppose it's her birthday and she asks me on the phone that what did I buy for her? I answer, I have bought a doll for you. I don't think I've bought you a doll works there. What say? – Maulik V Sep 2 '14 at 5:30
  • @MaulikV I think they're both equivalent there. Keep in mind that the 'dative alternation' (S-V-IO-DO > S-VO-DO-to/for-IO) exists primarily to permit a) focusing on IO rather than DO and b) moving a 'heavy' IO to the end, for easier parsing. – StoneyB on hiatus Sep 2 '14 at 11:33
  • @StoneyB, What a glee! I regarded 2.1 as an unused construction and forgot about it. Were not your reply, I would have been keeping my ignorance. Thank you so much. – Listenever Sep 2 '14 at 13:33
  • I knew that's your brainchild and I just stole it from you. Again, the dictionaries don't classify 'choose' as a ditransitive verb. I therefore consider 2.1 as an example in which the 'heavy' IO is put to the end. You've made me think in your way. :-) @StoneyB – Kinzle B Sep 2 '14 at 15:37

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