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  1. euncu's Avatar
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    #1

    maintainXprovide for

    Are these verbs interchangeable when we say provide for/maintain a family, etc.?

    If they are so, why did the writer use them both in the same sentence in the excerpt below? Can the reason be to avoid repetition?

    "...if your worship should provide for the child, it may make the people the apter to believe; besides, why should your worship provide for what the parish is obliged to maintain?" (The History of Tom Jones, Henry Fielding)

    Thanks for your answers in advance.

  2. euncu's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: maintainXprovide for

    I'll appreciate any helps.

  3. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: maintainXprovide for

    I'd say both are being used to mean "take care of" but this novel was written quite a while ago and I can't say I'm familiar with the specific uses of those words at that time, or how they may have subtle differences.

    I did love that book, though.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  4. 5jj's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: maintainXprovide for

    I don't feel there is any real difference between the two expressions in modern BrE.

    Dr Johnson(1755) gives one definition of maintain as "To support with the conveniences of life [...] If a wife maintain her husband, she is full of anger and much reproach"; and one of provide for as " To take care of beforehand [...] He will have many dependents, whose wants he cannot provide for".

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