Which is proper English?

A) You can get it for free.


B) You can get it free.
1 2 3 4 5
I normally say A.
I agree with JulieLai, I believe that "you can get it free" is a slang shorting for the correct "you can get it for free"...
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
I feel the opposite. In this context "free" means "for nothing" and so "for free" is equivalent to "for for free". I checked in my dictionary (Collins) which indicated that "for free" is non-standard.
I say that simply "free" is more correct, but not absolutely correct. I liked the analysis that said that "for free" translates into "for for free." However, here is a problem with that type of analysis:

Another dictionary definition says "free" means "without charge." American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Analyzing the usage of free is not as simple as plugging in the dictionary defintion, because if we did so, then we could not say "free of charge," since this would become "free of charge without charge." This is nonsense, of course, so we have to abandon this analysis.

I prefer to think of "free" as "without constraint." We can talk about being free of social constraints, free of physical constraints, etc. Commonly we talk about things being free from the monetary constraints, and so technically we should say "free of charge," instead of either of our original choices ("free" vs. "for free"). Therefore, "free" was the closest to begin with, because it is simply the truncated version of "free of charge," which is the correct phrasing.

TimKowalHowever, here is a problem with that type of analysis
I agree entirely that that type of analysis does not work when you look at something seriously, but it does help to make a point sometimes.Emotion: smile
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
Both are used.
DavidBoth are used.
Can't disagree with you there. The point is perhaps which is felt to be more appropriate for formal use at the present time. I just "felt" that "free" was better and the dictionary I happen to own agrees with me by saying that "for free" is non-standard. As with many words and phrases the non-standard one may become standard and eventually replace or stand alongside the originally preferred one. Since this is the legal forum I would venture to suggest that many lawyers' preferences would be for the more conservative form.
I was told by a professional editor that 'for free' was incorrect, no matter how much it is in common use. In the first place it is redundant. Either something is free or it costs something. Saying it is for free means it doesn't, doesn't cost anything. In the second place, 'for' is a preposition and can only be followed by a noun or pronoun. 'Free' can be either an adjective or a verb, but not a noun or pronoun. Any time an ad or a website uses this phrase, I doubt its validity.
Site Hint: Check out our list of pronunciation videos.
Show more