Is it appropriate to omit to after ought?
I ought to be disciplined for my insolence.
I ought be disciplined for my insolence.
Is it okay to omit the to?
It's not typical.
The American Heritage Dictionary entry for ought has the following usage note:
Unlike other auxiliary verbs, ought usually takes to with its accompanying verb: We ought to go. Sometimes the accompanying verb is dropped if the meaning is clear: Should we begin soon? Yes, we ought to. In questions and negative sentences, especially those with contractions, to is also sometimes omitted: Oughtn't we be going soon? This omission of to, however, is not common in written English.
The omission of to is more frequent in American English. Quirk & al. (A Grammar of Contemporary English) say:
Ought regularly has the to-infinitive, but AmE occasionally has the bare infinitive in negative sentences and in questions (although should is commoner in both cases):
- You oughtn't smoke so much.
- Ought you smoke so much?
British English requires the to-infinitive. (I didn't know until reading the above comments that American English allowed its omission.)