admit /admit to

  • xxxNEROxxx

    Member
    American-English
    Personally, as a native AE speaker, I don't see any difference in those two phrases. I'm not sure what they could mean by that, in the book you are looking at. Perhaps if you gave a further example?
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    "Admit doing something" is ambiguous, and one of its meanings is "admit to doing something" (confess something). "Admit doing something" can also mean "allow something":

    We admitted to writing between the lines.
    [We admitted that we had written between the lines.]

    We admitted writing between the lines.
    [Same, or "We permitted people to write between the lines."]
     

    Ume

    Banned
    Japanese
    "Admit doing something" is ambiguous, and one of its meanings is "admit to doing something" (confess something). "Admit doing something" can also mean "allow something":

    We admitted to writing between the lines.
    [We admitted that we had written between the lines.]

    We admitted writing between the lines.
    [Same, or "We permitted people to write between the lines."]

    https://insurancenewsnet.com/article.aspx?id=169372&type=newswires
    The Manhattan company admitted breaking several regulations, including using misleading advertising through Cinergy commercials.
    The red part doesn't mean "The Manhattan company permitted people to break several regulations" but "The Manhattan company admitted that it had broken several regulations," does it? Therefore, would "...admitted to breaking..." be better?
     
    To me 'admit breaking...' sounds like the violation was their past practice while
    'admit to breaking...' sounds indicating it was a particular incident in the past.

    But I am not quite sure.
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    would "...admitted to breaking..." be better?
    It would be better, although the intended meaning is clear. The example is from a news item, so do not expect any word that could be dropped out to be kept.

    To me 'admit breaking...' sounds like the violation was their past practice while
    'admit to breaking...' sounds indicating it was a particular incident in the past.

    But I am not quite sure.
    If you interpret them that way you would be making a distinction that does not exist in these phrases. They mean exactly the same as each other.
     

    IParleFrench

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    Andygc, thank you for your advice.

    admit breaking :

    I think this can mean the company repeatedly violated one to several rules in an instance for years.

    I really think you're reading more into this than is necessary.

    Admit something = to allow something to happen
    Admit to something = to confess to something

    But as stated above, sometimes a newspaper may leave out the "to" if the meaning is obvious without it. They're always trying to save space.
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    The M-W Learner's Dictionary says:

    http://www.learnersdictionary.com/search/admit
    - He reluctantly admitted to knowing her. [=he admitted knowing her]
    - He admitted to his guilt. = He admitted to being guilty.​
    to can be left out, but can't to be omitted? If it can't be, could you tell me why not?
    In my own usage I would, I think, usually use "admit to". Many people drop the to, and I really don't see any difference between he admitted knowing her and he admitted being guilty that would justify saying that one could be used without to and the other must have it - and you could write he admitted his guilt, which is a structure that I would certainly use.
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    I see a difference. What a person admits to is something the person has done, or a thought or feeling the person has:

    He admitted his guilt. [He admitted that he was guilty. He admitted to being responsible for whatever it was.]
    He admitted to his guilt. [He confessed that he felt/had some guilt.]
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    I see a difference. What a person admits to is something the person has done, or a thought or feeling the person has:

    He admitted his guilt. [He admitted that he was guilty. He admitted to being responsible for whatever it was.]
    He admitted to his guilt. [He confessed that he felt/had some guilt.]
    But that is a different context from the OP which was specifically the use of a participle after the "admit", not a noun

    I admit to hitting him
    I admit hitting him no difference in meaning (although it could, perhaps, mean that you permit him to be hit)

    I admit my guilt in hitting him
    I admit to my guilt in hitting him possibly a difference as you suggest
     

    Dear life

    Senior Member
    India- Bengali
    Thank you forero & Pep. :)
    It depends on the context, on whether, in particular, we are talking about a specific time that something happened, prior to which the writing happened.

    They are equally correct.

    Can 'to writing' mean both a habitual action (that is we confessed that we do it)& something that we did in the past (we confessed that we had done it)?
     

    zaffy

    Senior Member
    Polish
    I admit to hitting him
    I admit hitting him no difference in meaning (although it could, perhaps, mean that you permit him to be hit)

    Grammar books clearly say the same thing. You admit doing something or admit to doing something. And this native used the past infinitive. Was he wrong?

    "He's admitted to have done it in the past." Shouldn't he have said "He's admitted to having done it in the past."?


    1606901992970.png
     

    elroy

    Moderator: EHL, Arabic, Hebrew, German(-Spanish)
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    Are you sure he actually said “have” and it wasn’t a subtitling error?
     
    Top