My own logic and basic grammar rules would say gerund:
He is predisposed to plagiarizing.

Because I would also say:
He is predisposed to plagiarism.

But Google tells me that:
He is predisposed to plagiarize.

is just as common. I have also seen, e.g.:
He has a predisposition to plagiarize.

I think I'm right and they're wrong. What do you think?

  • 1
    Hello, Chuckk. What research have you done? ELU requires reasonable research to be shown. Collins seems happy with either ing-form or infinitive after 'predisposed to', giving the examples Some people seem predisposed to accept stories about mysteries or the inexplicable. Christianity Today (2000) // I don't think he would be a judgmental person condemning individuals for actions that they may be genetically predisposed to taking. Times, Sunday ... – Edwin Ashworth Apr 2 '18 at 22:47
  • Times (2008) (licensing 'They may be genetically predisposed to taking such actions.') – Edwin Ashworth Apr 2 '18 at 22:47
  • I confess I had only searched for sentences using the phrase, after seeing that no dictionary definitions I could find clarified this point. – Chuckk Hubbard Apr 3 '18 at 1:13

All those constructions, and some more besides, are completely acceptable and standard.

The verb form
(predisposed to or predispose [someone or something] to)

The OED has all three possibilities among the examples it lists:

          Tristy was p̲r̲e̲d̲i̲s̲p̲o̲s̲e̲d̲ ̲t̲o̲ ̲b̲e̲l̲i̲e̲v̲e̲ that Van Gogh must have been a determined and inveterate ‘faker’.

          We have not even a word in English for the complex of psychological elements which p̲r̲e̲d̲i̲s̲p̲o̲s̲e̲s̲ ̲u̲s̲ ̲t̲o̲ ̲f̲o̲r̲g̲e̲t̲t̲i̲n̲g̲.

          Noun phrase (NP):
          New Yorkers..are always p̲r̲e̲d̲i̲s̲p̲o̲s̲e̲d̲ ̲t̲o̲ ̲d̲r̲a̲m̲a̲-̲q̲u̲e̲e̲n̲ ̲s̲e̲l̲f̲-̲i̲m̲p̲o̲r̲t̲a̲n̲c̲e̲.

The noun form
(predisposition to)

The OED has the following:

          One of the few indicators of a possible p̲r̲e̲d̲i̲s̲p̲o̲s̲i̲t̲i̲o̲n̲ ̲t̲o̲ ̲m̲e̲n̲t̲a̲l̲ ̲i̲l̲l̲n̲e̲s̲s̲ in a given individual is a positive family history of such illness.

          There was a strong p̲r̲e̲d̲i̲s̲p̲o̲s̲i̲t̲i̲o̲n̲ ̲t̲o̲ ̲b̲e̲l̲i̲e̲v̲e̲ that China's culture..was dynamic and changing in nature.

But in published literature (i.e. if one searches google books for the underlined phrase, below), one can easily find

          A psychological p̲r̲e̲d̲i̲s̲p̲o̲s̲i̲t̲i̲o̲n̲ ̲t̲o̲ ̲b̲e̲l̲i̲e̲v̲i̲n̲g̲ in moralizing gods could then be favored by natural selection within groups.
          The p̲r̲e̲d̲i̲s̲p̲o̲s̲i̲t̲i̲o̲n̲ ̲t̲o̲ ̲f̲a̲l̲l̲i̲n̲g̲ ̲b̲a̲c̲k̲w̲a̲r̲d̲ may result from a smaller posterior than anterior base of support.
          If you adopt a dog with this type of genetic p̲r̲e̲d̲i̲s̲p̲o̲s̲i̲t̲i̲o̲n̲ ̲t̲o̲ ̲f̲i̲g̲h̲t̲i̲n̲g̲, you must...

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  • I can think of no other phrase that can accept both 'to' + infinitive and 'to' + gerund, but I guess that would be another question to ask. – Chuckk Hubbard Apr 3 '18 at 1:14
  • @chuckk-hubbard Lead seems to be one... It led to winning the match. His training and influence led me to win several championship title fights. And this is what I found, a path that led me to victory. I'm pretty sure that if I stared a bit longer at CGEL's list of catentaive verbs (in particular of class 3Ai), I could probably find at least one or two more. – linguisticturn Apr 3 '18 at 2:43
  • One question that puzzles me is why the verb predispose doesn't appear on any comprehensive list of English catenative verbs I know of (OK, I know just two—the one in CGEL and this one—but still). – linguisticturn Apr 3 '18 at 2:49
  • ... Yes; I've just had to add it to mine. 320 now. Verbs accepting complex catenations with both ing-forms and to-infinitives include bear, countenance, depend on, discover, like, love, get, hate, have, see, stand, take, and want. With imagine, the following verb probably needs to be 'to be' as a to-infinitive. . With help (I can't help John being clumsy / I help John to be tidy), the different catenations have different meanings (do anything about / aid). – Edwin Ashworth Apr 3 '18 at 10:14
  • @edwin-ashworth Oh wow! I hope you consider updating this list with yours! – linguisticturn Apr 3 '18 at 16:07

In your first two samples, 'to' is a preposition meaning 'toward'. In the latter two samples it is an infinitive marker. All are grammatical, but 'toward' is more vague ("to[ward] [possibly?] plagiarizing" or "to[ward] [committing?] plagiarism").

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  • Answers need to be supported by authoritative references, even when they are correct. – Edwin Ashworth Apr 3 '18 at 0:04
  • Well, I knew that about 'to', but some phrases use it as preposition and some as infinitive particle, and I wondered which works for 'predispose'. It appears it can do either. – Chuckk Hubbard Apr 3 '18 at 1:11
  • The subject of catenative/control/raising verbs is not simple, but a passive superordinate verb is often followed by a to-infinitive. 'Bias' is a verb that comes close to the pattern for 'predispose', whereas 'expect' is quite different. I recommend using 'toward' instead of 'to' for prepositional uses where the destination is not obtained -- "he moved to the left" vs "he tended toward the left". – AmI Apr 5 '18 at 19:26

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