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My gut feeling tells me one says "I crave chocolate" and not "I crave for chocolate". This was confirmed for example at this forum discussion.

However, google also showed me the sentence "I crave for you" was in fact used in this pop song!

Could someone please clarify which use is correct? Should one say "I crave chocolate" or "I crave for chocolate", or are both equally fine? Thanks a lot!

By the way, I am aware that "i have a craving for chocolate" is correct English (and am not a native speaker).

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    It was used in the 19th century; here is an issue of Charles Dickens' magazine with His very soul craved for the gorgeous and impossible beauty … And the OED has craved for attested since the 15th century (although the transitive usage seems to predate the intransitive). – Peter Shor Sep 14 '14 at 20:04
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    It's difficult to judge using Ngrams because of the number of false positives, but it looks like the usage of craved for has been steadily decreasing for the last 100 years. It sounds ungrammatical to me, but there are apparently still people who use it. – Peter Shor Sep 14 '14 at 20:12
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    Genref. Collins: crave vb 1. (when: intr, foll by for or after) to desire intensely; long (for) 2. (tr) to need greatly or urgently 3. (tr) to beg or plead for – Edwin Ashworth Sep 14 '14 at 22:28
  • Thanks @EdwinAshworth ! But this "when" makes me doubt: is this saying that whenever crave is used intransitively, it is followed by "for" or "after"? But one could still use the verb transitively and use it as in meaning 1, to desire intensely? Or does this mean that whenever usage 1 is meant, the verb should be used intransitively? – Joachim Sep 15 '14 at 9:16
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    Your first explanation; AHDEL is better than Collins with the transitive sense: 1. To have an intense desire for. – Edwin Ashworth Sep 15 '14 at 18:09
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It sounds horribly odd to my ears (probably worth noting the group in that song is not native-English speaking). Crave is (virtually) always a transitive verb in Modern English and needs to have an object. The reason that the noun form works with for is that nouns will need prepositions to add in objects like that. For example, The company prints Ø the books versus There's a new printing of the books.

As Peter Shore points out, the OED recognizes its use, but its usage is quite rare these days. Searching around with some other phrases besides I crave for (since that's taken up by song lyrics), almost every instance of crave for sounded off to my modern ears except when for was the head of a clause or when the object craved is intended for someone else:

  • Someone craves for someone else something.
    • in other words: Someone craves something for someone else.
  • I crave for someone to do something.
    • but not *I crave someone to do something.

For examples of these you've got Rest he craves for you in His bosom 1 - …he craves for you to f— off 2

So you can use it as it's certainly been used that way, but recognize it will come off as antiquated or weird to most people.

  • Thanks @guifa! Just one thing, how is "rest he craves for you in His bosom" an example of one of these two uses you described just before? – Joachim Sep 14 '14 at 20:44
  • @joachim in that example, the direct object comes first. Untangled, it's "He craves rest (in His bossom) for you" so it matches the someone craves for someone else something format. – guifa Sep 14 '14 at 23:04
  • Ah ok, "rest" is the object here. Thanks, that's exactly what i missed! – Joachim Sep 15 '14 at 9:10
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I'm a Ghostwriter it's been more than 20 years and I'm 56. I never use in my life for any characters "crave for something". In music lyrics and poetry, all is allowed. It's called poetic license. The right way for saying that, or expressing it within a writing is "crave something". The "TO" is implicit.

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