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I offered him up to fix his car.

Does this sentence have meaning that I offered to fix his car?

I offered him up to take a rest after the voyage.

Does this sentence have meaning that I offered a rest to him?

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    Could you explain why you want to use "up" (as some form of "offer up") in these examples? As for the second example, how can you "offer a rest"? It doesn't make any logical sense to me.
    – user3169
    Commented Jul 25, 2016 at 4:42

2 Answers 2

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In answer to your question, your examples aren't semantically equivalent. First, although I can understand what you're trying to express, without context, others would find your examples odd or confusing. And second, by constructing it as "I offered him up…", you're making him the object of offer.

So you're left with an extra preposition (up) that has no function; it is not part of a prepositional phrase—i.e. up has no object—thereby rendering your sentences confusing and ungrammatical. Leaving that aside, the use of to offer up in your examples it doesn't comport with any of its definitions, which I will list below.

To offer up is a phrasal verb, so it doesn't necessarily mean the same thing as to offer. Also as has been pointed out, the most common usage of to offer up is to sacrifice to a god; but this is not the only usage of the phrase.

Merriam-Webster lists the additional meanings to make (something) available: to provide or supply (something) to say; or, to express (something) as an idea to be thought about or considered. Macmillan states that to offer up can also mean to provide something that is intended to impress, please, or satisfy someone, so it's not limited to deities.

Ultimately, your use of to offer up is not synonymous with to offer. And frankly, most people would regard these examples as nonsensical.

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The literal meaning of "I offered him up to fix his car" is that you sacrificed him to the gods so that his car might be fixed. So no. This is because "offer up" is a phrasal verb with a different meaning from the usual meaning of offer. This is something that you can find e.g. in

https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/offer_up

The OED states that the "sacrifice" sense, or "present to a god" sense is actually the original.

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  • You're not correct according to the link you've cited. The Wiktionary entry for to offer up has an additonal meaning: *3. (transitive, idiomatic) to provide (something great) …But the World Cup winning veteran's left boot was awry again, the attempt sliced horribly wide of the left upright, and the saltires were waving aloft again a moment later when a long pass in the England midfield was picked off **to almost offer up a breakaway try. There are a few additional meanings as well. Commented Jul 25, 2016 at 5:33
  • The meaning in that example is a metaphorical extension of 1. and still not the usual meaning of offer. The important fact is that no native speaker could possibly understand "I offered him up to ..." to mean "I offered to ... for him". To offer a person up can only mean you are exchanging a person for something, archetypally sacrificing them to the gods, but in modern times perhaps as a hostage or otherwise. Commented Jul 25, 2016 at 5:47
  • To be quite honest with you, you're still not correct, First, you pretty much say you're not correct by calling the definition a "metaphorical extension"; metaphors are not literal—which is the way you're defining it—and thus the meaning is not the sane. And second, while you're right that it's not the most common usage of offer, to offer up is—as you rightly point out—a phrasal verb (you literally stated that in your answer), thereby giving it a different meaning. Commented Jul 25, 2016 at 6:39
  • Additionally, Merriam-Webster Learner's Dictionary provides some meanings that are much different than Wiktionary. While MW does define it as to sacrifice, the second and third definitions are far from a mere "metaphorical extension" of an offering to a deity. Macmillan defines it similarly to your answer, but it asserts that to offer up can mean to attempt to please another human being, not just god(s). (see number two). Commented Jul 25, 2016 at 6:40
  • I will not argue back and forth any further. However, I did not "say I'm not correct". In case there is any misunderstanding, the intended meaning of my earlier comment is that sense 3 of "offer up" in Wiktionary originated as an extension of sense 1, and the literal meaning given in my answer is sense 1. Commented Jul 25, 2016 at 11:33

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