When to acknowledge is used in the sense of to admit the gerund is used.

I acknowledge having made a mistake.

However, I was wondering what is the appropriate form in the sense of to accept status.
I found this sentence on the Internet:

He only hoped the applause was a result of his delivery and not to acknowledge him being voted most valuable player.

I think that this sentence means he was first voted as the most valuable player and for that reason people can acknowledge him being voted.

The jury who voted him the most valuable player, however, gave their votes beforehand; thus, using gerund would be wrong if my previous statement is true. Hence I guess:

The jury acknowledged him to be the most valuable player.

Imho, this is the active form fitting to the passive:

He is acknowledged to be the most valuable player.

I still have my doubts if the "acknowledge sb to be"-form is valid. I didn't find any examples on the web. So, is that sentence fine or must it be something like:

The jury acknowledged him as the most valuable player.


2 Answers 2


Cambridge University Press's online English dictionary has this example: "She is usually acknowledged to be one of our best artists" and OUP's online dictionary has this example: "He is widely acknowledged to be the best player in the world".

From this, one can extrapolate that the people doing the acknowledging can say "I acknowledge him to be the best player in the world".

I haven't found a form with to+infinitive other than "to be". I can imagine "I acknowledge him to play chess better than Kasparov", but it sounds very stilted, compared with "I acknowledge that he plays ...".


That a construction has declined in popularity is no discommendation.

That you found an example sentence "on the Internet" is no recommendation.

Answer 1: your first example is passive voice, the second, active, so basing usage decisions on such a comparison is inadvisable.

I would rewrite all your examples: "I acknowledged that I made a mistake." "He only hoped the applause was a result of his delivery and not because he had been voted most valuable player." [I'm disagreeing with your interpretation of the sentence's meaning.] "The jury acknowledged that he was the most valuable player."

I like your original thinking-- What are the varieties of meaning of the word "acknowledge"? (acceptance, status, some others?) In present-day English, we've become gerund-and-participle-happy, throwing them around nilly willy without much regard for whether they make sense or not.

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