Possible Duplicate:
Usage of the verb “provide”
Is the sentence “It provides people an easy way to communicate.” grammatically correct?

Can you provide me a mouse pad?
Can you provide me with a mouse pad?

This seems to convey the same meaning, if I use 'with' or omit it from the sentence.

Is there any difference between the above two sentences?

Why do we use 'with' here and in other sentences of such type?

marked as duplicate by RegDwigнt May 3 '12 at 8:45

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.


Looking up provide in the dictionary, we see that it can be used as a transitive verb, and also as a phrasal verb with the conjunction with:

enter image description here

So, any of these would be valid ways to use provide:

A new mouse pad is provided to all new employees.


All new employees are provided with a new mouse pad.


The equipment custodian provides new mouse pads to all new employees.

What's the difference between these? They all essentially convey the same meaning (although the last one provides some extra details about who hands out the mouse pads), so it's largely a stylistic preference on which gets used.

Personally, as I evaluate the first two, I find nothing grammatically wrong with them, but I still think they sound just a little awkward, as if maybe a different verb might sound more natural:

A new mouse pad is issued to all new employees.


All new employees are given a new mouse pad.

Getting back to your original question, and keeping an eye on the dictionary definition I provided, I prefer the using the word with in your context:

Can you provide me with a mouse pad?

It fits the (provide someone with) construct in the dictionary, and sounds more natural, at least to me. Others might disagree. Either way, the difference is minor; you could still say the first one, and I wouldn't be thrown.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.