Is it o.k. to conjugate the verb "blame" in this way?:

I am to blame.

You are to blame.

He/She/It is to blame...and so on.

In order to tell someone themselves blames something on.

  • 1
    I think it's possible, but I can't think of any reason to do so. Why not, just say "I blame..". And maybe this could help. Commented Apr 16, 2017 at 15:31
  • 1
    This answer might help - ell.stackexchange.com/a/46339/3463 Commented Apr 16, 2017 at 15:35
  • 1
    Yes: that's fine. "Be" and a handful of other verbs take hollow to-infinitivals as complement, so we get "You are to blame __". The missing element is the object of the verb "blame" and is represented by gap, the meaning of which is recoverable from an antecedent. In this case, the antecedent is "you": We understand that "You are to blame you (yourself)".
    – BillJ
    Commented Apr 16, 2017 at 16:51

1 Answer 1


Yes, it is acceptable to use the word blame in the way you described.

Saying a phrase like "I am to blame" or the other examples you provided means that the object of the phrase should or could be blamed by anyone.

For example, if you said:

I blame myself.

This means that only the speaker is the one blaming themselves. Likewise in this example:

Jim blames Susan.

Here Jim is the only person blaming Susan. On the other hand:

I am to blame.

Susan is to blame.

This means that I or Susan can be reasonably blamed by anyone. It would be comparable to:

I am the person to blame.


I am the one for people to blame.

  • I'm not sure why you included the person in your penultimate example - whether present or not the implication is the speaker is telling his audience that they should blame him. Pragmatically, we might well assume the speaker also blames himself, but this might not be the case, and it's completely unaffected by including the person. Commented Apr 16, 2017 at 17:19
  • @FumbleFingers I guess I thought that would be illustrative, perhaps those weren't the best examples. Commented Apr 16, 2017 at 17:32

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .