1. Red and black result [in] the same order when sorted alphabetically.

  2. ... because they result [in] the same exact definition.

  3. Doses of ... result [in] the same effect that control does.

Can (or should) 'in' be omitted in these sentence?

Google gives 1,300,000 results for "they result in the same" and 287,000 results for "they result the same". I thought that both are correct and that omitting 'in' is more appropriate in this context. Omitting 'in' appears to be quite common in academic papers. However, somebody corrected me and said that there should be an 'in'.

  • Is that your real example? Because neither is correct. In any case, you need to use result in, if you want it to mean become. But two colors cannot become an order. – michael.hor257k Oct 2 '16 at 11:35
  • @michael.hor257k: In the context they denote lists that can be sorted. And I don't think semantics matter here. – ybungalobill Oct 2 '16 at 11:38
  • Well, the context is not quite clear - perhaps you should expand it a bit. – michael.hor257k Oct 2 '16 at 11:40

Result, in current English, is always intransitive and does not have a direct object.

  1. a. intr. To arise as a consequence, effect, or outcome of some action, process, or design; to occur as a result to; to end or conclude in a specified manner.
    †b. trans. (refl.). To resolve into something. Obs. rare.
    c. intr. To become, turn out (in a specified manner).
    †d. trans. To decide, to resolve. Also with that-clause and intr. Obs.

  2. intr. lit. and fig. To spring back, up, or forth, etc.; to diverge. (All senses Obs.)


Your use of result provides a direct object ("the same order") which isn't sense 1.b because that's reflexive ("results itself into something"), nor is it really 1.d because result there is a direct synonym for decide or resolve: "Our meeting broke up before the proposal was resulted by the women."

Not only is the verb now only intransitive, but your use is specifically intransitive. It cannot take a direct object and requires a prepositional phrase.

OED notes that the preposition should be in for your usage.

With regard to 1.c, "To turn out," OED's examples are

1626 Bacon Sylua Syluarum §481 Rew doth prosper much..if it be set by a Figge-tree;..the one Drawing Iuyce to result sweet, the other bitter.
1829 Ladies' Mag. May 228 You know, Leon, how the experiment has resulted.
1891 T. Hardy Tess II. xxv. 55 It might have resulted far better for mankind if Greece had been the source of the religion of modern civilization.
1912 F. W. Blackmar Kansas 612 It is not reported how this election resulted with regard to the county seat.
1966 Times 4 Apr. 9/1 (headline) How the election resulted.

None of those fits your usage: you need the prepositional phrase.

  • Can you give an example for 1.b? – ybungalobill Oct 2 '16 at 12:38
  • I did. "Results itself into something". That's in the OED citations. It's obviously reflexive, and it's obsolete. No-one uses results as a reflexive verb. The example I give from 1d (also obsolete) came from OED, too. If a usage is obsolete, it can be discounted straight away; OED only lists obsolete usage because it's a historical dictionary and it's useful for explaining texts from the past. – Andrew Leach Oct 2 '16 at 13:12

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