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Is there any difference between "admit something" and "admit to something"?

"Admit to stealing the money."

And

"Admit stealing the money."

A lot of people, including native speakers, have told me there is no difference between them. But for some reason the second example doesn’t feel right to me. I would either use the first one or include a that clause and say "He admitted (that) he stole the money." Am I completely wrong?

English Language & Usage Asked on November 11, 2021

1 Answers

One Answer

In the case of actions, the two are interchangeable, at least in everyday conversation (possibly in formal writing it could be preferred to use "to").

But in the case of admitting facts, we can't use "to".

For example,

I admit [that] this color doesn't look good on me.

To use "to" we'd have to reword the admission to have a nominal form, such as,

I admit to this color not being my best.

Answered by The Photon on November 11, 2021

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