be inclined to or to incline

  • Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    Neither is a very idiomatic use of incline. I think that I can guess what you mean, but I am not certain.

    What is "his side"? Do you mean, the side he is on in a controversy? Or do you mean literally the side of his body? Or do you mean something else?

    (We need to know more about what you are trying to say; that is, we need context.)
     
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    hereticalrants

    Member
    English
    I'm going to assume that you mean "side" as in a side in a conflict, rather than a physical location next to something.

    You can say, "I am inclined to be on his side," but the word cannot be used to describe an act of persuasion.

    Here are some possibilities for the sentance you posted:
    "He wants to turn me to his side,"
    "He is trying to recruit me,"
    "He would like me to be on his side,"
    "He wants me to prefer his side in the arguement,"
    ...and others....

    What exactly are you trying to say?
     
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    whynottail

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    You can say, "I am inclined to be on his side," but the word cannot be used to describe an act of persuasion.
    I was wondering if-
    "I am inclined to be on his side,"

    should be replaced by-
    "I incline to be on his side,"

    when there is no act of persuasion, the reason being the passive voice suggests there is actually some influence exerted on the speaker.
     
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    hereticalrants

    Member
    English
    I was wondering if-
    "I am inclined to be on his side,"

    should be replaced by-
    "I incline to be on his side,"

    when there is no act of persuasion, since the passive voice suggests there is actually some influence exerted on the speaker.
    It sounds extremely unnatural. People do not incline themselves.

    If you don't want to use the passive voice, you have to reword it entirely and say something like, "I prefer to be on his side," or, "I intend to be on his side," depending on what you meant by "I am inclined to..." in the first place.
     
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    whynottail

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Not quite, I'm afraid. I just found these from Collins COBUILD on CD-ROM-

    (a) Those who fail incline to blame the world for their failure.

    (b) I incline to the view that he is right.
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    incline to blame sounds odd to me. It have once been usual to use incline that way, but it no longer is.

    I have heard incline to the view. This is still used.

    Added:
    The Prime Minister is believed to be inclining towards an April election.
    Inclining to or towards an noun or an adjective is also a common construction.

    "I incline" with an infinitive is not, as was said above. The fact that similar constructions are acceptable today does not establish that this one is.
     
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    hereticalrants

    Member
    English
    Let's put it this way: You have to be rather skillful with the English language to use "I incline to ...." in a way that won't be distracting. It's an uncommon form. People have inclinations and they are inclined to do things, but they do not incline. Actual usage trumps your language learning CD.

    "The Prime Minister is believed to be inclining towards an April election," sounds natural. Here, "to be inclined" is used.

    "I incline to be on his side," does not sound natural.
     
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    whynottail

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Two more examples for sharing, which are from the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English-

    (a) I incline to take the opposite point of view.

    (b) I incline to get tired easily.
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    Another example from Cambridge Dictionaries On-line -

    http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/british/incline_1
    The Prime Minister is believed to be inclining towards an April election.
    This definition includes:
    I or T [=Intransitive or Transitive] usually + adverb or preposition

    I find this to be true.

    Whatever the dictionaries offer as examples, I agree with hereticalrants that "I incline to be on his side" does not sound natural. Of course, I speak from my experience with American English. Perhaps other people will have another view.
     

    whynottail

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Interesting view, saying the actual usage proposed by an individual trumps well-known dictionaries.

    Moreover, "to be inclining" is totally different from "to be inclined".
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    So you prefer to discount the advice of the Cambridge Dictionary (a British English source) that incline is usually followed by a preposition or an adjective?

    What the forum offers is the experience of individuals as to actual use of various words. You are welcome to prefer to rely on dictionaries.
     

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    Interesting view, saying the actual usage proposed by an individual trumps well-known dictionaries.
    Frequently, in my opinion, well-educated, highly literate native speakers are to be trusted over dictionaries.

    For one thing, languages are not set in stone. They change and evolve, adding and losing words and usages, and dictionaries become dated; the leading dictionaries are frequently revised.

    For another, dictionaries do not offer universal truths; they are the products of the particular human beings who edited them. Some dictionaries are more respected by professional editors and writers than others, with good reason.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Interesting view, saying the actual usage proposed by an individual trumps well-known dictionaries.

    Moreover, "to be inclining" is totally different from "to be inclined".
    You should consider that the illustrative sentences in dictionaries have been written by hard-pressed dictionary writers. It is very difficult to write exemplar sentences.

    If you don't find the views expressed here to be convincing, I suggest that you look in contemporary corpora.

    A Google search for "incline to believe" is also very illuminating.
    Lots of examples from old sources.
    Lots of examples of "I'm incline to believe" - obvious errors.
    Lots of examples from non-native sources.

    Having said all that, I would quite happily say, in the right context, something like "I incline to the view that ...".

    And finally, I sense no element of persuasion in "I am inclined to ...". It is a simple statement about my opinion.
     
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