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I looked up the synonym dictionary, and it told me that "deprived of" can be the alternative of "without". So I'm wondering if this usage is right:

  • Deprived of his partner, he couldn't win by himself.
  • Life would be miserable deprived of you.
  • He would never be able to speak deprived of this technology being discovered.
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The last two sentences seem missing some punctuation marks. –  kiamlaluno Mar 9 '11 at 14:02

3 Answers 3

up vote 3 down vote accepted

The examples given work better with "without" than "deprived".

Without his partner, he couldn't win on his effort alone.

Life would be miserable without you.

He would never be able to speak without this technology.

(Note: for the 3rd example, it is the technology [perhaps a voice prosthesis after a laryngectomy?] that allows the person to speak, not the act of discovery of the technology)

"Deprive" means to take something away from. Also, it is commonly used to refer to the removal of a basic or essential need. Hence, it is often used in the following context:

Deprived of sleep, he was unable to perform well at work.

The dictator imposed unreasonable restrictions on his political opponents, and deprived them of the right of free speech as well.

Deprived of food, the child was unable to reach his full growth potential.

"Without" is usually more generic in its usage, it may not always refer to the removal of a basic/ essential need:

Without the fitness he once had, he was unable to complete the marathon.

He got wet because he was caught in the rain without an umbrella.

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I realized that "without" can be used in hypotheses while "deprived of" can't. For example, "Without you, I can't do ..." this can be used in the situation where I still have you, but I want to emphasize the importance of you, right? –  trVoldemort Apr 3 '11 at 12:49
  • Deprived of his partner, he couldn't win by himself. - fine

  • Life would be miserable deprived of you. - without is much better

  • He would never be able to speak deprived of this technology being discovered.
    He would never be able to speak, had this technology never been discovered

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+1. And since the questioner seems to want sentences without "without", the second sentence can be reworked similar to the 3rd suggestion here: "Life would be miserable, were it not for you" (or "...if it weren't for you") - though this sounds somewhat more formal than the version with "without". –  psmears Mar 9 '11 at 15:06

"Deprived of" generally implies that something has been taken away, whereas "without" can simply mean that something was missing in the first place. For example:

Deprived of his partner, he couldn't win by himself.

This is a correct usage. It implies that he originally had a partner, but lost him and can no longer win.

The latter two examples do not work so well. When someone says "Life would be miserable without you," they could be implying that life would be miserable if you left, or if they had never met you. "Life would be miserable deprived of you" only means that life would be miserable if you left, and sounds somewhat foreign as well.

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But is there any way I can avoid using "without"? –  trVoldemort Mar 9 '11 at 11:14
    
@trVoldemort: "Life would be miserable if I had to live without you." "He would not have been able to speak if this technology had not been discovered/unless this technology had been discovered." –  Tragicomic Mar 9 '11 at 13:53

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