I am trying to get the meaning of the word "grant" straight.

For example, consider the situation described below:

a boy asked his mom if he can have a piece of chocolate cake. The mom, however, gave the boy lemon cake instead even though she had the chocolate cake in the fridge. The boy loved the lemon cake and enjoyed it very much, and he ate the lemon cake until his belly is completely full.

In this situation, would you say the boy's mom "granted" what the boy asked of his mom?

Thank you,

  • 2
    No, she did not grant him what he asked for, because he asked for chocolate cake. She may or may not have granted him what he wanted, which was different from what he asked for, but even that is debatable because he still had the thought of chocolate cake in his mind after eating the lemon cake. But all this is neither here nor there: this is a question of metaphysics; the question wouldn't change if you substituted the word "gave" for "granted". In other words, this is not a question about English, so we can't answer it on this site.
    – Dan Bron
    May 10, 2015 at 20:12
  • 1
    Note that there are probably eight or ten radically different meanings of "grant".
    – Hot Licks
    May 10, 2015 at 20:15
  • Also note, that careless doesn't mean what you think it means. careless means "prone to making mistakes because the will to avoid such mistakes is lacking"
    – Jim
    May 10, 2015 at 20:25
  • @Jim - careless also means "not concerned or worried about," something, i.e., "he was careless about his own safety"
    – user98990
    May 10, 2015 at 20:29
  • @LittleEva- yes, I agree that careless can mean "without care" but it cannot be applied in OP's situation. There is a difference between "he was careless" and "he no longer cared/" A native speaker will easily discern what was intended, but its use in this way is non-standard at best.
    – Jim
    May 10, 2015 at 20:43

1 Answer 1


GRANT verb: 1. agree to give or allow (something requested) to. "a letter granting them permission to smoke"; synonyms: allow, accord, permit, afford, vouchsafe. See The Free Dictionary

The boy in question asked his Mother if he could have a piece of chocolate cake. His mother, however, gave the boy lemon cake instead (even though she had the chocolate cake in the fridge). Granted, Mother gave him cake, however, the boy requested not merely cake, but chocolate cake. Therefore, it cannot be claimed that the Mother in question "granted" the boy's request.

Note: in honor of Mother's Day I have capitalized and bolded all instances of Mother in my answer.

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