Provide Work Without With
Sometimes rules are made to be broken. That’s often the case when you’re talking about “proper” grammar vs. advertising, marketing and public relations copywriting. And it’s definitely the case when using “proper” will undermine “effective.”
Consider these two sentences:
- I will provide Fredricks Communications with access to my Google drive.
- I will provide Fredricks Communications access to my Google drive.
Get rid of that proposition, “with,” and nothing really changes. People still get it, and the sentence is shorter. And those who pay any attention to this blog know I push brevity as Rule #1 for clarity and keeping hold of readers’ short attention spans.
According to several “proper” grammar sources like the English learning website VOA, “with” is necessary:
With is a preposition, and the verb provide has two different subcategorization frames:
- Provide somebody with something. – The recipient of the thing (Fredricks Communications) is the indirect object.
- Provide something (to somebody). – The thing provided (access) is the indirect object.
Subcategorization frames? Recipients? Prepositions? Indirect objects?
Clear as mud in the eye to your average Joe.
Here’s the important point – nobody cares, except your former English teachers. And, with all due respect, they never had to sell a widget.
You and I and our bosses and clients care about selling that widget, and we know we need lively, engaging copy to do it. So keep your copy clear, keep it brief and work without with in your advertising, marketing and public relations copywriting.