pledge, commit, oblige


New Member
I have a question about the correct usage of the verbs pledge, commit and oblige.

I have following sentences:
1/ He pledged to help the poor.
2/ He pledged himself to help the poor.
3/ He committed to help the poor.
4/ He committed himself to help the poor.
5/ He obliged himself to help the poor.

Which of the sentences is definitely wrong? We have had quite a long discussion about it in our school and we have not been able to find the right answer.
Firstly, the question is whether it is possible to use „pledged himself“ and „committed himself“, and if it possible and correct – what is the difference in meaning between „pledged to and pledged himself to“ or „committed to and committed himself to“.
Secondly, we do not know at all whether it is possible to say „he obliged himself to“ and whether it makes a sense.
Thirdly, should commit be followed by an infinitive „committed to help“ or by a gerund „committed to helping“?

It sounds quite complicated but I hope to get some answers. So far, all native speakers have given us contradictory answers.
Thank you very much.
  • Glasguensis

    Signal Modulation
    English - Scotland
    1 is correct. 4 would be correct if you used "helping", and would be similar in meaning to 1. 3 is sometimes seen as a variant of 4.
    2 is grammatically possible but implies that he is somehow promising to sacrificing himself in order to help the poor, which probably isn't a useful meaning.
    5 is grammatically possible and implies that he did something so that he had no choice but to help the poor, so again this probably isn't a useful meaning.
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