dare to tell or dare tell

Discussion in 'English Only' started by yarka, Feb 24, 2013.

  1. yarka Senior Member

    Hi everybody,

    I don't know if I can say "I didn't dare to tell them the truth" or "I didn't dare tell them the truth".

    Which is the correct?

  2. which New Member

    English - United States
    The former is the more formal of the two. One dares (oneself) to do something.

    The latter is acceptable, though, especially in spoken English.
  3. Beryl from Northallerton Moderator

    British English
    The 'to' is optional, in my view. I see no difference in register between the two.
  4. which New Member

    English - United States
    As I stated, it is a question of formality. As a prescriptivist, I believe that 'to' to be quite necessary in a formal setting.
  5. Andygc

    Andygc Senior Member

    British English
    Curious. I've read a lot of formal writing - including various judgements handed down by the High Court and the Court of Appeal - and I seem to remember seeing plenty of bare infinitives there. I suggest that being prescriptive can only fossilize language.
  6. se16teddy

    se16teddy Senior Member

    English - England
    I think it has come up before on Wordreference before that some Americans are less comfortable with the omission of "to" after "dare" than we are over here, but I couldn't find the thread.
  7. which New Member

    English - United States
    I wouldn't dispute that suggestion. :)

    This could be true. However, I have no specific insight into the phenomenon. Perhaps it is akin to the British usage of 'I dare say'?
  8. Parla Senior Member

    New York City
    English - US
    I agree with Beryl (post #3). I'm not aware of any BE/AE difference here.

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