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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    Default "give me it" vs "give it to me"

    Hi,

    someone used this sentence:

    "When she returns the book, give me it.

    I suggested using "give it to me", but was not able
    to explain the reason why "give me it" is not correct.

    "Give me the book" is a correct sentence,
    so why is it not OK to use "it" in place of "the book"?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    sheena55ro Guest

    Default Re: "give me it" vs "give it to me"

    Quote Originally Posted by englishstudent
    Hi,
    someone used this sentence:
    "When she returns the book, give me it.
    I suggested using "give it to me", but was not able
    to explain the reason why "give me it" is not correct.
    "Give me the book" is a correct sentence,
    so why is it not OK to use "it" in place of "the book"?
    Thanks
    ex:
    That`s the book; give it to me[the object is known to the speaker and to the interlocutor]
    Give me it[ not correct because it`s an imperative sentence and you don`t state the exact object; the object is a pronoun

    Read the following explanation:

    In grammar, a ditransitive verb is a verb which takes a subject and two objects. According to certain linguistics considerations, these objects may be called direct and indirect, or primary and secondary.

    English has a number of generally ditransitive verbs, such as give and grant, and many transitive verbs that can take an additional argument (commonly a beneficiary or target of the action), such as pass, read, bake, etc.:

    He gave Mary ten dollars.
    He passed Paul the ball.
    Jean read him the books.
    She is baking him a cake.
    English grammar allows for these sentences to be written alternately with a preposition (to or for):

    He gave ten dollars to Mary.
    Jean read the books to/for him., etc.
    The latter form is grammatically correct in every case, but in some dialects the former (without a preposition) is considered ungrammatical, or at least unnatural-sounding, when both objects are pronouns (as in He gave me it).

    Sometimes one of the forms is perceived as wrong for idiosyncratic reasons (idioms tend to be fixed in form) or the verb simply dictates one of the patterns and excludes the other:

    Give a break to me (grammatical, but always realized as Give me a break)
    He introduced Susan his brother (usually becomes He introduced his brother to Susan)
    Passive voice
    Many ditransitive verbs have a passive voice form which can take a direct object. Contrast the active and two forms of the passive:

    Active:
    Jean gave the books to him.
    Jean gave him the books.

    Passive:
    The books were given to him by Jean.
    He was given the books by Jean.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    Default Re: "give me it" vs "give it to me"

    Basically, when both objects are prepositions, it is at best unidiomatic to put them together like that. It's simply a little unclear -- not wrong, exactly, it's just harder to process as it's not immediately obvious which is the direct object and which is the indirect object. It just takes the listener a little longer to work it out, that's all.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    Default Re: "give me it" vs "give it to me"

    Thank you sheena55ro for the detailed explanation.

    Rewboss, I did not know it was not wrong. Thanks
    for letting me know that. :)

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