Provided (That) or Providing (That)?

by Craig Shrives

Provided or Providing?

The terms "provided that" and "providing that" are interchangeable when used to mean "on condition that." However, "provided that" is strongly preferred over "providing that" in the US and the UK. For example:
  • Provided that the weather is fine, we'll have a picnic on Saturday.
  • Providing that the weather is fine, we'll have a picnic on Saturday.
  • (This is acceptable but is less common.)
  • Tony will attend provided that Sarah is not chairing the meeting.
  • The newspaper did not publish the photographs because they were given by a confidential source who did so provided that we not release them before the elections.

"Provided That" or Just "Provided"?

The word "that" can be omitted from both "provided that" and "providing that." For example:
  • Provided the weather is fine, we'll have a picnic on Saturday.
  • Providing the weather is fine, we'll have a picnic on Saturday.
provided or providing
"Provided" is more popular than "providing." [evidence]

"Provided" Is More Formal Than "Providing"

Most writers maintain that "provided" is preferable to "providing" as a conjunction meaning "on condition that." Therefore, it is safer to choose "provided" or "provided that" in formal writing.
Interactive Exercise
Here are three randomly selected questions from a larger exercise, which can be edited, printed to create an exercise worksheet, or sent via email to friends or students.

See Also

adverse or averse? affect or effect? appraise or apprise? avenge or revenge? bare or bear? complement or compliment? dependant or dependent? discreet or discrete? disinterested or uninterested? e.g. or i.e.? envy or jealousy? imply or infer? its or it's? material or materiel? poisonous or venomous? practice or practise? principal or principle? cannot or can not? who's or whose? What are conjunctions? List of easily confused words