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I have found this in the dictionary but not sure whether I can separate these (from the examples on the internet, I think I cannot):

I will provide for him.
I will provide him for ?? cannot be?

So it is not the same as:

I will pick him up.
I will pick up him

which both seem to be correct to me

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1 Answer

up vote 2 down vote accepted

I will provide for him means the speaker will make available the means for him to live. I will provide him for cannot be used to mean the same thing. When it is used, it has to occur with other words such as I will provide him for one day only or I will provide him for $1000 and it might be said of someone being provided to perform some service or other. Provide can be used to describe the act of giving someone something, but then the construction is I will provide him with . . .

When the object of a phrasal verb is a pronoun, it comes before the adverb. So it has to be I will pick him up and not *I will pick up him.

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Also, it cannot be separated if it should mean exactly the same, right? I am concerned about the grammar, not the meaning. So "provide for" is something that is given and should always be in this form. –  Pietro May 17 '12 at 9:48
    
Yes, when it has the meaning of supporting someone in a material way, 'provide for' is inseparable. –  Barrie England May 17 '12 at 9:52
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