We often use "give away" when we say a person gives something to many as a gift, rather than just one person.

For example, the teacher gave away candies to his students.

Can we say "the teacher gave away the candy to Mary" (just 1 person, not many people)?

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    "Giving away" has a focus on the thing going away - it lightly implies that part of the action is about getting rid of the object. So for example, I might give away old clothes I don't wear anymore or food I'm not going to eat - it benefits me to get rid of these things and hopefully also benefits the person I'm giving them to. But if I purchased or made something with the purpose of it being a gift, I would "give the item" and not use the word away. Jan 16 at 15:22
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    And 'give away' is usually used when the recipient isn't mentioned. The teacher gave candies to his students (or gave out (distributed)). Jan 16 at 15:27

1 Answer 1


Short answer: no. It doesn't sound right.

Other thoughts: If you keep the structure but switch the word order. Changing your last sentence to this: 'the teacher gave the candy away to Mark', it sounds a little better but still it misses the mark.

Even with multiple subjects the away part feels off. For the phrase 'give-away', it makes sense to keep the structure when using as a noun but when using as a verb, drop the away.

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