Friday, February 22

How to Use "Familiar" and "Provide"

Our target words today might seem like an odd* pair at first, because they’re very different from each other.

*odd = strange

But later you will realize that they have something in common.

Part of Speech

First of all, in terms of Part of Speech (type of word), “familiar” is an Adjective while “provide” is a Verb. This is why they are different. And of course their meanings are different too.

But today we’re not going to go into detail about their meanings, because I’m sure that most learners already have an idea what these words mean.

Today we’re going to concentrate on structure, or how to make sentences using these words. And in terms of that, you will find a common thing that these 2 words share.


First of all, when you want to use the word “familiar” you should follow this pattern:

S + Be + familiar


He is familiar

They are familiar


As you can see from our examples, because “familiar” is an Adjective, we should use it together with the Be Verb.

But the word that comes after is also important: the Preposition.

When we are using the word “familiar,” there are 2 Prepositions we can use: (1) to, and (2) with.

Why? What’s the difference between these two?

Before we talk about their differences, let’s write them down:

Be + familiar + with

Be + familiar + to

Now, this is the difference between them:

Somebody + be + familiar + with + something

Something + be + familiar + to + somebody


I am familiar with business software.

She is familiar with European art.

I’m sorry but his name isn’t familiar to me.

The title of the song is familiar to them.

Here are their meanings:

Somebody + be + familiar + with + something

= Somebody knows about something because has learned about it or has experienced it before


Something + be + familiar + to + someone

= Something is well-known to and easy for somebody to recognize

Here are some more examples:

New employees are not very familiar with the rules.

(= don't know about)

This kind of problem is familiar to me.

(= is well-known)


Next is the Verb provide.”

As a Verb, it is easy enough to use in a sentence:

S + provide

But, similar to our first word (familiar), the Preposition that you will combine with it is important. You can choose among at least 3 different Prepositions:

provide + with

provide + for

provide + to

What’s the difference among these three? In what situation should we use each Preposition?

Well, this is the answer:

provide + somebody + with + something

provide + something + for + somebody

provide + something + to + somebody

As you can see, just like with the word “familiar,” the arrangement of words is important for us to know which Preposition to use.


The government needs to provide citizens with social services.

The hotel provides a swimming pool for its guests.

We should make an effort to provide excellent service to all our customers

NOTE: The last two patterns are actually very similar and confusing:

provide + something + to + someone

provide + something + for + someone

A small but important difference between them is the fact that when we say “provide something to,” it means we actually give or deliver the thing to the person.

Ex. The test center provides paper and pencil to the candidates. 

On the other hand, when we use “provide something for,” it could mean that we make the thing available to the person (whether or not they use it). In short, there is a ready, available supply of something for the person to take.

Ex. The hotel provides stationery for the guests. 

Here are more examples:

My company provides me with many benefits.

We provide consultancy services to our customers.

The hotel provides a shoe-cleaning service for guests.


Unlike some other Verbs like “give” or “offer,” we can’t use the word “provide” in the S + V + O + O pattern. Take a look:

S + V + O + O

I gave  her  a watch  on her birthday. =Ok

They offered  me  a good salary. =Ok

We will provide  you  a good location. = X

Instead we should say:

We will provide you with a good location. = Ok

Hope You Learned Something! 

Keep on learning !

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