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In the following sentence:

They have access to private information that can only be acquired by those who invest millions of dollars in network communication...

should I say the following instead?

They have access to private information that can only be acquired to those who invest millions of dollars in network communication...

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closed as general reference by MετάEd, FumbleFingers, Mahnax, Matt E. Эллен, tchrist Aug 28 '12 at 23:53

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

It should almost certainly be acquired by. Why do you think it should be acquired to? – Cameron Aug 27 '12 at 22:28
What Cameron said. Also, could you be confusing acquired with required? – cornbread ninja 麵包忍者 Aug 27 '12 at 22:30
Thanks for the reply. Quite frankly, I don't know the english rule behind this but when I read both sentences out load they both sounds good to me so I wasn't sure. – CharlesM Aug 27 '12 at 22:30
@CharlesM: You're supposed to do some "basic research" yourself before asking here. For example, Googling "acquired by those" gives 390K hits, compared to only 31K for "acquired to those". Adding the word "was" in front of that search string clears out the "false matches", giving 23,800 instances using "by", and only 2 using "to". I'm afraid the question really is "General Reference". – FumbleFingers Aug 28 '12 at 1:35
up vote 2 down vote accepted

The usage is always "acquired by".
"Acquired to" is never used.

"Acquired" has a similar usage in this context as eg "caught by", "eaten by", "seen by".

"xxx to" would be used for eg "Given to", "sent to", taken to", "explained to".

In all these examples the "direction" of the action governs the usage. I cannot think of an example where this s not the case (which does not mean that there may not be one :-) ).

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Thank you! Very clear! – CharlesM Aug 27 '12 at 22:41
"RCC Ltd., in Itingen, Switzerland was acquired to expand contract research services" ~ "from the date the option was acquired to April 1998" Never say never! – Roaring Fish Aug 28 '12 at 6:38
As shown in Roaring Fish's example, "acquired to..." is followed by a verb, and is a contracted form of "acquired in order to...". It can also form part of a larger construction such as "from...to", as in the second example. It doesn't form an alternative to "acquired by." – Spinner Aug 28 '12 at 10:08
@RoaringFish - :-). Never, in the context intended. But an infinite number of times in an infinite number of other contexts, where infinity > infinity :-). – Russell McMahon Aug 29 '12 at 22:44

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