English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Can I use gerunds with the word "concede" without using preposition "to" as in the sentence below?

He concedes killing his wife.

share|improve this question
Where did the idea that to is used with gerunds come from? To is used with infinitives, not gerunds. – John Lawler Mar 28 '13 at 20:10
John, surely you are right, but I often see to-gerund constructs. – user19148 Mar 28 '13 at 20:21
One admits to a crime, but one concedes an argument to an opponent. One might concede that one killed one's wife. – StoneyB Mar 28 '13 at 20:22
@Carlo_R. Examples? Those are just prepositional uses anyway, like from walking to running in five easy steps. – tchrist Mar 28 '13 at 20:38
There are lots of constructions with gerund phrases (i.e, reduced gerund clauses) as objects of a preposition. Usually the preposition is governed by the preceding verb, like He admitted to/She looked into/They argued over robbing the bank. But it doesn't have anything to do with the gerund. – John Lawler Mar 28 '13 at 21:12
up vote -1 down vote accepted

Actually, it appears that no one says any of those, perhaps because concede does not work that way:

conceded graph

On the other hand, if you swap admits in for concedes, now you get a more interesting picture:

admits graph

And here is the past-tense version of the same:


I find especially curious that this only started getting said come the 20th century. That part I don’t know what to make of.

In any event, it appears that admitting doing anything is fairly new to the English language, and following that admit with a to before an -ing form is a very recent phenomenon indeed.

share|improve this answer
so it means no? – pihu Mar 29 '13 at 14:06
@user41412 Right: it shows that people neither “concede doing things” nor “concede to doing” things. You want to use admit there instead. – tchrist Mar 29 '13 at 14:11

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.