How to use “provide for”

“Provide for” can be a phrasal verb or simply a verb + preposition combination.

Here are some examples of “provide for” as a verb + preposition combination:

I will provide the wine for the meal.

We care about the service that we provide for our customers.

A ramp will be provided for disabled access.

As a phrasal verb, “provide for” has three meanings:

“provide for” somebody
“provide for” something
“provide for” something (legal usage)

“Provide for” somebody means to give people the essential things they need to live, such as food, housing and clothes, e.g.:

Parents must provide for their children.

After he lost job he worried that he would not be able to provide for his family.

Prisoners must learn to provide for themselves legally so they do not reoffend when released.

“Provide for” something means to plan for, prepare for, take precautions against, anticipate, get ready for a possible (negative) event in the future. E.g.:

It turned out that by buying extra batteries, he had provided for just such an emergency.

You should provide for exchange rate fluctuations when calculating the price.

We have little confidence in contracts which attempt to provide for all possible contingencies.

“Provide for” something is common in legal texts, where it means to make possible, enable, establish, facilitate or require in a legally enforceable manner. Here are some examples:

This contract provides for termination under the following circumstances.

The agreement provided for regular consultations between the Company and Contractor.

The Act provides for two members of the board to represent the company.

In this way contracts, acts etc. have “provisions”. Provisions are particular rules, requirements, stipulations, etc.


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