English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I have a question on the usage of present as a verb. Should it be always be followed by a with? Which of the following usage is legal/sounding good?

  1. I presented my mother diamonds.
  2. I presented my mother with diamonds.

My take is that #2 is perfect, but #1 is not invalid.

share|improve this question
A third possibility is "I presented diamonds to my mother." – Peter Shor Feb 19 '12 at 16:52
up vote 2 down vote accepted

There are two citations in the Oxford English Dictionary in which the item presented is not preceded by a preposition. They are:

The best Trees present us their Blossoms, before they give us their Fruit.


To present Miss Meredith in his name, a very elegant little watch.

However, these are from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Such use in contemporary English looks odd. It is likely to distract readers from what you have to say and is, I suspect, rarely found.

share|improve this answer
I think you're probably right that more recently there's more of a tendency to add with after present in this sense, but I don't think it's particularly "marked" if you don't. Checking Google Books 21st century instances of "I presented him a" as against "I presented him with a", the latter is about 10 times more common. But the same check for 1800-1850 gives much the same ratio, so we must make of that what we will. – FumbleFingers Feb 19 '12 at 15:53

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.