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Which is correct?

Clara is given a present by her mother.

Clara is given a present from her mother.

And why?

  • Both are fine. The choice of preposition mainly depends on whether you want to focus attention on the giver (by- clause modifies given), or the gift (from- clause modifies present). – FumbleFingers Mar 29 at 15:25
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Clara is given a present by her mother.

This is the passive form of “Her mother gives Clara a present.” The preposition “by” is used to indicate who or what did something.

Clara is given a present from her mother.

This is the passive form of “Someone gives Clara a present from Clara’s mother.” The preposition “from” gives the origin of the present.

But “Clara is given a present from her mother” does not say who gave Clara the present from her mother:

Example:

Clara’s father: “Here you are Clara. This is a present from your mother; unfortunately, she cannot give it to you herself because she has had to go to Paris for three days on business.”

In this case, we can say “Clara is given a present from her mother by her father.”

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If the mother is giving the present, 1. is correct. If the present is from the mother, 2. is correct.

If the mother is giving the present, and the present is also from the mother, both 1. and 2. are correct, but you might want to emphasize one of them.

Cases 1. and 2. are different, because the mother could be giving a present from an aunt whose not present. On the other hand, an aunt could be giving a present from a mother whose not present.

So 1. and 2. are different cases that don't quite mean the same thing, and you must choose.

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