forbid somebody to do something/ from doing something

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Senior Member

These two phrases as listed in the above title, I think, is interchangeable. So I figure the following choice-question is not adequate in its design.

Because of the recent accidents, our parents forbid my brother and me ...... in the river unless someone agrees to watch over me.

A. from swimming B. to swim C.... D... (the latter two are wrong, so are ommitted)

If an item is so designed, it implies there is only one answer, or at most, one best answer. But I don't see what is wrong with Choice-A. I think both A and B do in this sentence.

An example from Longman Dictionary is :"Women are forbidden from goigng out without a veil." I see no difference when this sentence is changed into an active one, just as the question I encountered above.

Do you agree with me?

Thank you for your help.
  • Toadie

    Senior Member
    I think both A and B work. I actually had to think about this one... But really, no matter which one is grammatically perfect, you will be understood 100% with either one.


    Belarus, Russian
    Personally I would never say "forbid from doing sth" and would consider this a mistake. But I have found quite a few references in Google with this expression. I think it might be not very correct or colloquial usage. I don't have the dictionary you've cited, but I haven't found any of such examples in other dictionaries.

    Matching Mole

    Senior Member
    England, English
    I agree Malaya, it is strictly speaking incorrect. Fowler suggests it has been modelled on "prohibit from" and "prevent from"; he, of course, considers it an error. However, it is very common, some suggest that it is now more common than "forbid to".

    I think you have to take your choice: either stick with the old school, or go with the flow.
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