There is some discussion in the grammar blogosphere about whether you need to use the preposition “with” when you use the verb “provide.”
According to Webster’s New World Dictionary, the following usage is acceptable:
“… provide the children with free balloons.”
A verb like “provide” requires three things:
– The subject, or provider
– The direct object, or thing provided
– The indirect object, or recipient of the thing provided
In practice, such a sentence can be written several ways:
1) The clown will provide free balloons for the children.
2) The clown will provide the children free balloons.
3) The clown will provide the children with free balloons.
There are several other verbs – synonyms – that use a similar sentence construction:
Supply the children with free balloons.
Present the children with free balloons.
Furnish the children with free balloons.
So, in a nutshell: Yes, you can provide somebody with something.