admit doing / admit to doing

thelearner101

Member
Turkish
Hi all. There are two sentences below. (Logman online examples)


What's the difference in meaning? (admit doing or admit to doing.)


Dana admitted feeling hurt by what I had said.
Phillips openly admits to having an alcohol problem.


Thank you.
 
  • dreamlike

    Senior Member
    Polish
    There is no difference in meaning. You can use the verb 'admit' in a number of ways -- it's just a matter of style.
     

    thelearner101

    Member
    Turkish
    Thanks, but I have a test question that made me crazy.

    World leaders turned a cautious eye to North Korea after the communist state admitted --- a secret nuclear weapons program.

    Both having and to having are among the options. I think this question is wrong. What do you think?
     

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    I agree with POB; either "having" or "to having" would be correct in that sentence. Whoever said that there is only one correct answer is wrong.
     

    EdisonBhola

    Senior Member
    Korean
    1. Peter admitted stealing my wallet.
    2. Peter admitted to stealing to wallet.

    I think both 1 and 2 are correct.

    3. Peter admitted stealing.
    4. Peter admitted to stealing.

    I think only 4 is correct.


    Do you agree?
     

    EStjarn

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    3. Peter admitted stealing.
    4. Peter admitted to stealing.

    I think only 4 is correct.

    Do you agree?
    Here's a comment from ozzourti in a thread at EnglishForums.com entitled "Admit (to) doing something?" that I feel has merit:
    I think it is worth mentioning that "admit doing something" can also mean "allow something", so is is often better to include the "to" for the sake of clarity.
    Forero in "admit/admit to" seems to agree with this:
    "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."]
    With this in mind, I don't think one can rule out "Peter admitted stealing" as a meaningful sentence. I think it would be understood as "Peter allowed stealing."

    Furthermore, in a different EnglishForums.com thread, "admit to or admit -ing", rvw makes the following observation:
    Admit to is an idiom. Technically it consists of the intransitive verb admit and the preposition to. The idiomatic combination admit to means acknowledge.

    She admitted to making a mistake means she acknowledged making a mistake.
    94kittycat in "admit lying or admit to lying" suggests that the version with 'to' is more formal:
    I don't think that any of the two sentaces is wrong, but I'm pretty sure that, "he admitted to lying to his wife," is the one that's more official.
     

    JordyBro

    Senior Member
    English - Australia
    1. Peter admitted stealing my wallet.
    2. Peter admitted to stealing to wallet.

    I think both 1 and 2 are correct.

    3. Peter admitted stealing.
    4. Peter admitted to stealing.

    I think only 4 is correct.


    Do you agree?
    To me 1 is a bit wrong. From my perspective it should be:
    peter admitted he stole my wallet.

    I suppose I'd sum it up that "admit" without to is short for "admit that" and requires a full sentence, as in, a sentence with a subject and verb. For example
    My brother's girlfriend admitted (that) she had been to prison once.
     

    elicosafi

    Member
    Español
    Hi everybody. I think the main question has not been answered. Why is English so difficult?
    When we study a language we cannot think we must know. However THAT is very useful. Rephrasing is more convenient.
    Thanks a lot for your help.
     

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    "Peter admitted stealing the wallet" does not mean that Peter allowed it to happen.
    "Peter admitted stealing the wallet" means exactly the same as "Peter admitted to stealing the wallet".

    "Admit" simply does not mean allow or permit in these sentences, with or without "to".
     

    JM the puffin

    Member
    Korean
    < This question and discussion has been added to a previous thread. Cagey, moderator. >

    Hi, my grammar book says (Grammar in use UK version) after ADMIT, verb+ing is used.
    BBC learning English website also says the same. BBC World Service | Learning English | The Flatmates - Language Point 84
    Here's the example sentence from BBC Learning English. (not from news!)

    - The children admitted taking the sweets.

    But today my English friend told me admit to verb+ing is the right way to speak.
    I still think BBC is a more reliable source than my friend, then I thought maybe this is one of the things that people use regardless of its grammatical correctness.

    I looked it up on this forum before, then realised that admit + ing can also mean "allow something"
    However the example sentence from BBC website clearly doesn't mean "The children allow (people) to take the sweets."

    Should I use to or not? Anybody can explain which one is correct? Or both? (in this case then why the hell BBC and Grammar in use never say so?) :/
    it's very confusing! :s

    Big big thanks in advance! Have a great day! :))
     
    Last edited by a moderator:

    heypresto

    Senior Member
    English - England
    The other examples given on the BBC site of verbs that are followed by verb+ing, are indeed correct:

    The children admitted taking the sweets.

    I considered becoming a singer when I left school.
    Do you fancy going to see a movie tonight?
    Would you mind opening the window? It's rather hot in here.
    He suggested eating out, but I had already prepared dinner at home.

    It's only 'admit' that sounds fine with the infinitive - as owlman says.
     
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