Envy somebody something


In Advanced Grammar in Use (Cambridge) the following sentence is grammatically correct

We all envied him his lifestyle.

Is the meaning of the particular sentence the same as the sentence

We all envied him for his lifestyle. ?


Posted 2016-01-25T13:06:56.530

Reputation: 727

1Yes, it's his private jets, exclusive vacations, expensive clothes, fine dining, fast cars, choice of wines, size of house, limitless credit card, massive art collection, beautiful friends, etc. that you envy. It's because of or for his lifestyle. – Peter – 2016-01-25T13:36:22.130

@Peter That should be an answer, because it really helped me! – V.Lydia – 2016-01-25T14:01:01.403



Yes, it's his

private jets
exclusive vacations
expensive clothes
fine dining
fast cars
choice of wines
size of house
limitless credit cards
massive art collection
beautiful friends

that you envy.

All those things (and possibly more) are the accoutrements of his lifestyle.
You envy him for those things.
You envy him for his lifestyle.

Alternatively, you could envy him for his good looks or his sense of humour
but those are not part of his lifestyle


Posted 2016-01-25T13:06:56.530

Reputation: 63 575

So "I envy him his lifestyle" means "I envy his lifestyle" ? – V.Lydia – 2016-01-25T14:27:12.573

"I envy him for his lifestyle is correct. If you use "I envy him his lifestyle" the Grammar Gestapo will lock you up(!) you need to add for – Peter – 2016-01-25T14:29:41.663

This is mentioned in http://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/definition/english/envy_2 : envy somebody something, I envied him his good looks.

– V.Lydia – 2016-01-25T15:36:27.830

1I've only heard "I envied him for his good looks" or "I envied his good looks", possibly its a BrE way of using envy, they drop words (from an AmE perspective) from time to time. I think if you said it to an AmE speaker they would think you said "I envied him: his good looks, his fast cars, his big house." – Peter – 2016-01-25T17:19:33.427

I can't agree with this: envy can be monotransitive, taking as object either the person or the possession, or ditransitive, taking both as objects. – StoneyB on hiatus – 2016-01-25T23:25:39.420

@StoneyB So, "I envied his lifestyle", "I envied the fast cars", "I envied his lifestyle and the fast cars","I envied his lifestyle the fast cars" are all correct? – Peter – 2016-01-26T00:32:08.280

@Peter My gut feel is that the possessor has to be expressed, but not necessarily as an object, e.g. "I envied the fast cars he drove", "I envied the lifestyle he enjoyed" -- or, as you expressed it, as a possessive, "I envied his lifestyle*, just as the possession may be expressed otherwise than as an object with for. – StoneyB on hiatus – 2016-01-26T01:25:09.803


The verb construction is to envy someone something. Oald gives a survey about the possible constructions. The construction with "for" is not listed. http://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/definition/english/envy_2

In AmE the construction with for is used: I envy you for your large group of friends. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/envy


Posted 2016-01-25T13:06:56.530

Reputation: 8 304