By and from

Prepositions cause a lot of trouble for learners. Only a lot of exposure to prepositions in different situations will give learners the feel for which one to use. Sometimes different contexts give different answers. An example is the following question asked by Tamaki on The Linguist Forum.

Tamaki asked on Mar 3:

My question this time is the preposition which comes after “is given”.

I believe there is a slight difference between below two sentences.

a) I was given this book by my parents.
b) I was given this book from my parents.

I think (a) sentence sounds a bit more focused on WHO gave it to you, but I’m not so sure about this.
Is there any difference, or does either of them sound odd to you?


Tamaki

Posts: 6
From: Vancouver
Registered: Oct 19, 2004

Re: given -by- or -from-?
Posted: Mar 4, 2005 12:06 AM

Reply
Thank you Steve!
I searched for the sentences including “given from” on Google and here are some examples I’ve got.
(Yes, the number of hit is quite small compared to the “given by” sentences.)
Could you please clarify the idea when to use “given from”?
(Some of the sentences might not have beem written by a native English speaker, though.)

– Once again the wood was given from government reources.
– A short report was given from the World Show Committee.
– The organ was given from memorial funds in memory of Peg Reid.
– The greatest gift I’ve ever known is the love that was given from one unknown.
– What is fundamental in all of this is the support Ben was given from his school.


SteveK

Posts: 59
Registered: Sep 24, 2004

Re: given -by- or -from-?
Posted: Mar 4, 2005 7:58 AM

Reply

I would recommend that you use “given by” in all situations.

“Given from” seems to be used when the giver is not what one might call an agent or a possible agent. From your examples

– Once again the wood was given from government resources

We would probably use “given by government” but “from government resources” because resources can not act, while government can. Someone else gave and took from the resources.

A short report was given from the World Show Committee.

This should by “given by” unless a report was given by someone who took the report from the Committee or representend them so that the Committee is not the agent,

– The organ was given from memorial funds in memory of Peg Reid.

Again the agent or giver was not the funds, someone gave and took from the funds.

– The greatest gift I’ve ever known is the love that was given from one unknown.

I think this should be “by”.

– What is fundamental in all of this is the support Ben
was given from his school.

I would have said “by” or “received from his school.”

I guess when the meaning places more emphasis on the one receiving rather the one acting, there might be a tendency to use “given from”. I would avoid it.

SteveK

Posts: 59
Registered: Sep 24, 2004

Re: given -by- or -from-?
Posted: Mar 3, 2005 6:31 PM

Reply
Given by. I cannot think of a sentence with given from. You can try it on Google or in The Linguist. “I hear from my parents”, “I received from my parents”, “I was told by my parents”.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s