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I am given by Jesus Christ forgiveness of sins and eternal life.

Is "I am given" wrong in this sentence? Could you please also explain why it is wrong? What is the difference between that and "I have been given."?

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  • Welcome to ELL. I hope you like the place and decide to visit often. You might want to take the tour or to read the Contributor's guide. The guide has a lot of helpful information on how best to ask, and answer, questions here on ELL. Commented Mar 20, 2023 at 0:30
  • Yes, it is wrong. We say: to be forgiven for our sins by JC.
    – Lambie
    Commented Mar 20, 2023 at 19:07

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The form "I am given" was once not uncommon, if a bit formal. It is now at least very old-fashioned, if not obsolete. One now sees it mostly in quotations from the King James Version of the Christian Bible, or in other biblical text with a similar style, or in text that is intentionally copying this style.

Indeed, I cannot think of the last time I saw this in a context other than biblical or pseudo-biblical use.

I would not say this form is incorrect, but it is certainly not normal usage in any modern context. Learners should not use this form except when intentionally imitating biblical language from 17th- or 18th-centuary translations.


The form

I am given to {X}

Can also be used to mean: "I habitually do {X}." For example:

  • I am given to using "one" when other might use "you".
  • I am given to long walks in the early morning.

This is not as obsolete as the sense used in the question, but it is for quite literary or high-flown registers, and it may sound pretentious or affected. I would advise that learners avoid it.


As a comment by Michael Harvey points out another way that "given" can be used is in the expression "I am given to understand X". This means "I have been told X." or "I have learned X". This usage is a bit formal and some some might call it old-fashioned but I see nothing wrong with it.

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    if I am being formal, I might very well say that 'I am given to understand something' Commented Mar 20, 2023 at 9:21
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    It would be normal in first-person present-tense narrative (which is a relatively uncommon context, I admit). "I go into the building and approach the reception desk. I'm given a folder, and asked to take a seat. "
    – Colin Fine
    Commented Mar 20, 2023 at 17:38
  • Also in conditionals: "If I'm given a broken machine again, I'll raise a ruckus."
    – Colin Fine
    Commented Mar 20, 2023 at 17:39

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