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In the movie titled 'The King's Speech', Lionel says,

"I'll stake you. Pay me back next time."

Isn't it "I'll stake for you" instead of "I'll stake you"?

I think "I'll stake you" is grammatically wrong.

Am I correct?

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  • 3
    Worth pointing out that where I'm from (NYC), it's more common to say "I'll spot you"; I understand "I'll stake you", but I don't think I've ever heard it used in real life.
    – Dan Bron
    Sep 28, 2015 at 11:39
  • Also worth pointing out that in other parts of the United States, "I'll stake you" would be what you expert to her (particularly if it has anything to do with gambling, especially poker), while if I heard the phrase "I'll spot you", I'd assume there are two guys talking about lifting weights or something...
    – nhgrif
    Sep 28, 2015 at 12:58
  • I think of gym junkies helping each other out with weights when I hear "I'll spot you", too. Where I'm from (QLD, Australia) we say "I'll shout you".
    – Julia
    Sep 28, 2015 at 13:08
  • 10
    ...and in some parts of the US, "I'll stake you" sounds like a line from a bad vampire movie.
    – Kevin
    Sep 28, 2015 at 13:51
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    It should be clarified that the film's actors and scriptwriter were British, and the characters were Australian and British. As a native British English speaker, this sentence makes perfect sense to me. Sep 28, 2015 at 15:25

2 Answers 2

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It's grammatically fine.

Stake (verb): give financial or other support to. (source: Oxford Dictionaries)

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I'll stake you is correct and idiomatic. Stake, in this sense, is a transitive verb which requires an object, the person staked.

You does, as you understand, play the Beneficiary role here—the “stake” which you need is provided to you, for your benefit. If it helps, you may consider you to be the Indirect Object, since that is with most verbs the syntactic function associated with the Beneficiary role. But that role must be expressed, and it must be expressed as an object; it may not be expressed with a preposition phrase.

The Theme role, however—any specification of the “stake”—is optional, and it can be expressed either as a Direct Object or with a preposition phrase:

He staked me.
He staked me a thousand bucks. He staked me (to) a thousand bucks.


Note that in a different sense, that of “risk” or “wager”, stake takes an obligatory Theme, expressed as a Direct Object, with an optional Goal argument expressed with an on preposition phrase:

He staked his entire fortune on the company's success.

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