Is there a difference between 'to force somebody to do something' and 'force somebody into doing something'?
What about other expressions like 'persuade sb to do/into doing sth', 'trick sb to do/into doing sth', etc.?
I came across this in the book Word Perfect vocabulary for fluency:

Push somebody to do something = try to force someone to do something
Push somebody into doing something = succeed in forcing someone to to something

That is, when you push someone into making a decision, the person has made a decision, but when you push someone to make a decision, you've tried to get him to make a decision, but he has not necessaily made a decision.
Is it the same about the other expressions?

  • It seems idiosyncratic: some (eg force) may take the 'into doing' construction rather than the 'to do', some (eg talk) must, and some (eg persuade) can't. Dec 1, 2015 at 13:49
  • 1
    @EdwinAshworth I came across this sentence "Her legal advisers persuaded her into/out of mentioning (= to mention/not to mention) the names of the people involved in the robbery." in Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary! Dec 1, 2015 at 13:58
  • 1
    :) ... and some (eg persuade) sound unnatural to some native speakers though apparently are used, and some (eg forbid) can't. Dec 1, 2015 at 17:53

1 Answer 1


It would depend on the context of what is being forced, persuaded, etc. and the sentence structure itself. Both could be used, but would require the context around it to be appropriate, "to" is generally followed by a verb or adjective, while "into" is generally before a noun, an object or thing. To determine which is more appropriate "into" or "to", for example, "I forced the nail into the hole" would be correct, "I forced the nail to the hole", isn't quite right, but we could restructure the sentence as "I forced the nail to go in the hole". Something like, "I persuaded him to resign as president" would be correct, while "I persuaded him into resign as president" is wrong, though we could say, "I persuaded him into resignation as president"

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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