Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

This question appeared in a previous question.
Should I write "it stands without reason that accuracy is of utmost importance" or "it stands to reason that accuracy is of utmost importance?"

The latter is the only I can find in online dictionaries.

share|improve this question
1  
"doubt" and "former" also appear to be used wrongly here. –  Ben Voigt Mar 21 '11 at 22:14
    
@John: That's a question in its own right. But I will try to answer in the space allowed for a comment: Your usage is wrong because "doubt" is not equivalent to "question" or "inquiry". It is the stated opinion, expressed from expertise, that another statement is likely false. It should therefore have an antecedent after a manner of speaking, either the expert who is qualified to express doubt (I have my doubts about...) or the rationale for disbelief. Furthermore, when used as a noun it is generally plural (see above), but usage as a verb is usually clearer. –  Ben Voigt Mar 21 '11 at 22:25
1  
It appears you're using "doubt" when you mean "question". This is nonstandard usage, common in India, but bordering-on-incorrect elsewhere. –  Marthaª Mar 21 '11 at 22:25
    
@John: An example absent the expert but instead indicating rationale: "The plaintiff's prior history of spurious actions cast doubt concerning whether the newest lawsuit was brought in good faith." –  Ben Voigt Mar 21 '11 at 22:29
2  
english.stackexchange.com/questions/2429/… "doubt" is used by Indian English speakers. But I would still argue that it's merely a common mistake, not a part of the language. –  tenfour Mar 21 '11 at 22:34

3 Answers 3

up vote 11 down vote accepted

The common idiom is "It stands to reason", meaning "It makes sense" or "It is expected". I've never seen any other variant, and at least some internet resources show the same.

share|improve this answer
6  
Agree. Seems to me "without reason" would be saying the opposite of what is intended. –  Kelly Hess Mar 21 '11 at 20:40

There is a confusion in this question, over possible meanings of “reason”.

  • Your suggested usage “it stands without reason” implies the meaning of “it stands without requiring a reason”. This is the colloquial use of “reason” as an excuse or apologetic defense of some factual claim.

    I agree with other answers that this is uncommon and unclear usage: “without reason” would imply the claim is indefensible, because it has no reason supporting it. This is pretty much the opposite of your intended meaning.

  • The common idiom “it stands to reason” implies the meaning “it stands when challenged by reason”. This is the primary use of “reason” as the process of critical inquiry and rational thinking about claims.

    So this usage connotes a factual claim that, when others challenge it using the process of critical inquiry and demand for supporting one's claims – that is, when others use reason to interrogate it – the claim stands (does not fall) to this challenge.

share|improve this answer

"It stands to reason that ..." Is basically a synonym for "Based on the reasoning provided, ...". For example,

He treated you like dirt! It stands to reason that you're having second thoughts!

"It stands without reason that ..." I have always understood to mean, "It needs no explanation that ...". For example,

It stands without reason that he should treat you like a princess.

But as we have seen, this idiom doesn't appear in any significant usage on the Internet so it could be a regionalism or just my own mistake. If it were my paper, I would use "it needs no explanation".

share|improve this answer
    
@tenfour: I want to say "It needs no explanation that ...". In this case is "It stands to reason" incorrect? –  John Assymptoth Mar 21 '11 at 22:33
    
You've made a typo in "it needs to explanation". –  Cerberus Mar 21 '11 at 22:35
    
For me, there's enough doubt that I would avoid it. –  tenfour Mar 21 '11 at 22:36
    
@Cerebrus, bleh I should just leave this site for the day. But I would argue that you should just edit my mistake instead of pointing it out in a comment. –  tenfour Mar 21 '11 at 22:37
1  
@John Assymptoth, yes, but "It stands without reason" is not related in meaning. It's a completely different idiom even though it shares some words. –  tenfour Mar 21 '11 at 22:46

Your Answer

 
discard

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.