Provide vs. Provide With – Difference Explained (12+ Examples)

The verb “provide” works really well as a standalone word. However, some people get confused when including the preposition “with” after it and whether the meaning is directly impacted. Let’s have a look at the differences.

What Is The Difference Between “Provide” And “Provide With”?

Provide should be used when the object of the sentence is the material that is given. You can “provide something.” Provide with should be used when the object of the sentence is the recipient of the thing being given. You can “provide somebody with something”.

What Is The Difference Between "Provide" And "Provide With"?

If you refer to The Cambridge Dictionary, you can see that “provide” means “to give someone something that they need,” which provides us with a fundamental definition that we’ll continue working with throughout the article.

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Is It Correct To Say “Provide Me With”?

It is correct to say “provide me with” because we always need to include the recipient as the object of the sentence when using “provide with.” That means “provide somebody with,” where “somebody” is the object (in this case, “somebody” becomes “me”).

Without using the “somebody” as an object, we can’t use provide with in a sentence correctly. Let’s look at a quick example.

  • You provide me with what I need.
  • You provide with what I need.

The first sentence works perfectly and is the grammatically correct way to write it. However, the second sentence makes no sense and should not be written in this way. We’re not showing the reader who is being provided with the thing.

Instead, the reader is left in the dark about the object of the sentence. They’ll be rereading that sentence, trying to figure out what it is you’re trying to say, but they won’t be able to figure it out.

Incidentally, if we removed “with” from the sentence, it would go back to being grammatically correct.

  • You provide what I need.

Here, we have a complete sentence. Without using “with,” the object of the sentence turns into the material given. That means “what I need” is the new object of the sentence, making it perfect in a grammatical sense.

Of course, for that to make more sense, it’s usually clarified what “what I need” means. For example, if it’s a passage of text, we’ll often include what is “needed” in the next sentence.

However, if it’s in speaking, the context is usually given by the two people talking. In this case, if a son said that to his father, the implication is what they “need” is good parenting and things like that.

How Do You Use “Provide” In A Sentence? (Examples)

Now let’s look at some examples of the two phrases in action. We’ll start with the slightly more simple variation where no preposition is required.

Remember, we use “provide” when the object of the sentence is the thing that is given to somebody. We don’t need to use any pronouns to tell who or what is being given.

  1. That’s my father. He provided all the things for this party.
  2. This school provides everything necessary to succeed in life.
  3. He provides all the fundamental parts for you.
  4. They provided the food, and I only had to eat it.
  5. I’m going to provide what’s needed on this list for the party.
  6. I’m providing entertainment to anyone who needs it! I’m a clown!

We included a few variations, using different pronouns to introduce the verb as well as different tenses to see how that effects it. You’ll be pleased to know that “provide” is a regular verb, meaning it has no annoying language rules that might change it from the base form depending on its use.

Whether we use “provide,” “provided,” or “providing,” we’re using the word in the same sense. We never need a preposition like “with” to follow it in any of these cases because the object of the sentence is already clarified.

The object depends on the context, which can make it confusing for some people. However, if you pay close attention to each sentence, you’ll see what they are. For example, in the first one, “all the things” is the object, and we work our way down from there.

Read through the examples we’ve provided above and see if you can pick out all the objects of the sentence that allow us to not use “with” when we’re writing.

How Do You Use “Provide With” In A Sentence? (Examples)

Now let’s see when we would use “provide with” instead. We include “with” when we’re using pronouns. These pronouns are used to refer to a recipient of a gift or the thing that is “provided.”

“Provide with” is used when we use the recipient as the object. That means we need a pronoun like “me” or “you” in-between the two words for it to make sense.

  1. He provides me with all the things I ask for.
  2. I provide you with everything, and I can easily take that away.
  3. You provide her with the things she wants in a man.
  4. We provide them with the money, and they deliver the fun!
  5. I’m providing you with the things you need to make it in life.
  6. You provided me with the tools to help make my dream a reality.

Again, we used as many variations as we could to really give you a clear idea of how we might use “provide with” in a sentence.

There should always be a pronoun between the two words; otherwise, you’ve made an error. If you read a sentence and see “provide with” next to each other, it means you’ve gone wrong somewhere and omitted a vital part!

Quiz: Have You Mastered Provide Vs. Provide With?

Let’s finish with a quiz to see what you’ve learned!

  1. He (A. provides / B. provides me with) everything for the party.
  2. I (A. provide / B. provide me with) the questions they answer in focus groups.
  3. They (A. provide / B. provide me with) a fun time whenever I want it.
  4. We (A. provide / B. provide you with) happiness to all who need it.
  5. We (A. provide / B. provide you with) entertainment when you order it.

Quiz Answers

  1. A
  2. A
  3. B
  4. A
  5. B