Submitted by marcelo3  •  July 3, 2007

Impose someone to do something

I read this sentence and I felt kind of weird about it:

The suppliers imposed us to absorb price increase.

I won’t say that it’s wrong to use IMPOSE in that sentence, neither that ABSORB cannot be used like that, but wouldn’t it sound better, and maybe even clearer to use one of the following alternatives? 1. The suppliers forced us to accept price increase. 2. The suppliers made us accept price increase. 3. The suppliers left us no choice but to accept price increase. 4. The suppliers left us no choice but to deal with price increase. 5. The suppliers imposed price increase on us and we were forced to accept it. 6. The suppliers imposed price increase on us and we were forced to deal with it. 7. The suppliers imposed price increase on us and we could do nothing about it.

Any opinion appreciated...

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I think you could say something like, "The supplier was forced to impose upon us a price increase."

Gramatically this is correct but it reads like garbage.

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@UIP:

I believe it when you say that there is such a thing as imposing a person on another person but an example that comes to my mind is if someone imposes a person on you who you don't relate to and/or don't get along with, it could mean that that individual(s) is or is attempting to make you befriend or socialize and/or be "exceptionally" nice to the person who you don't relate to and/or don't get along with even though you may refuse to befriend or socialize and/or be "exceptionally" nice to that particular person.

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>”The big issue that we have in face is the
>suppliers imposed us to absorb price increase."

Wow. That’s incredibly bad English. Is this from a non-native speaker?

>Yeah, I think the main problem is the phrase
>"imposed us." Impose is not a transitive verb.
>It takes a preposition.

Actually, “impose” is a transitive verb. It takes both a direct object and an indirect object. In this case, the direct object is “price increase”, and the indirect object is “us”. So “The suppliers imposed price increases on us, which we had to absorb” would be fine.

>You cannot impose somebody;
> you can impose something upon somebody.

Well, you can impose one person on somebody else. For instance, if you coerce someone into babysitting for you, then you’re imposing your kids on them.

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please elaborate, anonymous (sept 4th). How does "price increase" without an article make any sense? If there is a different distinction in meaning, please tell us, what is it? It only makes sense with an article. "Price increases", plural, makes sense without an article, but not in the singular.

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I don't believe that "price increase" requires an article. To use an article in this instance would change the meaning. "A price increase" and "the price increase" are not the same as "price increase."

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I believe the point would be that an advertiser or company trying to portray themselves in good light would use "impose" and "absorb" because it sounds less demeaning to the customer.

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Now you have supplied the whole sentence, it is much clearer what you meant by ABSORB.

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Andrea is on the right track. There's nothing wrong with using the word "impose" in this context. The surrounding grammar is incorrect though. When uninvited (and unwelcome) guests drop by, they are imposing on you. I think a similar meaning applies in your example. Someone or something can "impose" something "on" someone or something: "The governement imposes income taxes on the working populace" or "The British crown imposed a tariff on tea". There would be nothing wrong with slightly modifying your example as follows: "The suppliers imposed on us to absorb a price increase." I really don't see how "absorb" would be at all ambiguous. What else can it mean other than, your supplier expects you to just buck up and accept a price increase with no change in the terms of your previous agreement and no increase in value or service? As Jessica said, companies are often forced to accept price increases from their suppliers without raising their prices, but the supplier has nothing to do with permitting them to raise prices or not. It's the customers and the end market that determines that. The supplier couldn't care less what the company charges its customers, unless, of course the company stops buying from the supplier because the company is no longer competitive. This may (or may not) make the sentence incongruous, but not ungrammatical.

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impose upon, or impose on.
You cannot impose somebody; you can impose something upon somebody.

Absorb is used correctly.

My vote for the sentence would be: "The suppliers made us absorb the price increase."

Depending on context, you may also want to soften the tone of the sentence and say something along the lines of "The suppliers expected us to absorb the price increase." This also sounds a bit more proactive; it does not come across as an excuse, blaming the suppliers for causing whatever problem is at hand.

Of course, if you have no choice but to buy from this supplier, and they raised their prices but didn't allow you to raise yours, you might as well call it what it is. Forced, however, is too strong a verb (unless your supplier is the drug cartel!)

"Price increase" should also take an article.

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The original sentence was:

"The big issue that we have in face is the suppliers imposed us to absorb price increase."

I would feel more comfortable saying something like:

"The main problem we are facing is that the suppliers left us no choice but to accept price increase."

Well, thanks for the opinions so far...

But now I am a little of confused... Jessica convinced me that ABSORB is a good alternative, then Dave said it is ambiguous (which was my first opinion). Any other thought on that?

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Yeah, I think the main problem is the phrase "imposed us." Impose is not a transitive verb. It takes a preposition.

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Either THE SUPPLIERS FORCED US TO ACCEPT A PRICE INCREASE or THE SUPPLIERS FORCED US TO ACCEPT PRICE INCREASES.

MADE US ACCEPT is equally good.

IMPOSED US is ungrammatical, and ABSORB is very ambiguous!

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Looks like thesaurus abuse, although I don't quibble with using absorb--a company absorbs extra costs when their supplier raises prices without permitting them to raise prices for the end users. But using impose like that is just wrong, wrong wrong; maybe impelled was meant? Though even that would be weird--I'd go with compelled.

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