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“admits to”

I have noticed recently that the phrase “admits to” keeps popping up in contexts where the “to” is obviously redundant.

“He admits to the offence” 

“He admitted to the charge”

Is this a new fad or has it been going on for some time?

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I'm a native American English speaker (from the midwest) and I have always used "admits to" or "admitted to". To me it sounds very strange, almost incorrect, not to use the "to".

PiteTeach March 11, 2014, 7:01am

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a British perspective: at the BBC (and other media seem to have similar results)

admitted the charge - 140, to the charge - 3
admitted the charges - 120, to the charges - 3
admitted the offence - 150, to the offence 9

On the other hand, this is from the CPS (Crown Prosecution Service)
"After the offender has admitted to the offence ..."

Oxford Dictionaries allow both. Personally I think the to-less version sounds a bit more formal / official, and like PiteTeach I would probably be more comfortable using 'to' - "He admitted all the charges" sounds a bit strange to me. But then I've always thought redundancy overrated; I leave that sort of stuff to Perfect Pedant - now I wonder whatever happened to him? :)

Warsaw Will March 11, 2014, 2:23pm

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"Confess/confessed to" I can understand but unfortunately I can't quite swallow "admit/admitted to".

Perfect Pedant was in fact an acquaintance of mine. He unfortunately passed on last year.

Hairy Scot March 11, 2014, 4:27pm

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@HS Up at the pearly gates St M checks your latest tax return, takes away your credit cards and passes you on to St P, who checks your grammar, so PP should be okay; unless of course St P has gone fishing.

jayles March 11, 2014, 6:17pm

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Only then is one admitted TO heaven.

jayles March 11, 2014, 6:21pm

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PP was an atheist, so I don't think he'd be too worried about Saint Peter.

Hairy Scot March 11, 2014, 6:33pm

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@HS Friends and family live on as long as we remember them. And in their children.
Sometimes I play "Stranger on the Shore" in rememberance of a long-ago friend who played clarinet: at the going-down of the sun, lest we forget.

jayles March 11, 2014, 11:40pm

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Possibly: 'he admitted the charge' but 'he admitted to committing the offence'. It seems more natural when followed by a verbal noun.

Skeeter Lewis March 12, 2014, 4:25am

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@Skeeter Lewis
I'd say "he confessed to committing the offence" and even "he admitted committing the offence" both sound more natural than "he admitted to committing the offence".
But perhaps it's all in the eye (or the ear) of the beholder. :-))

Hairy Scot March 12, 2014, 10:24am

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