Here is the sentence it was used in:

"Many doctors and patients are uncomfortable with the idea of having cost of care factor into end-of-life decisions."

I am confused with the sentence because I have checked a lot of dictionaries and found that "factor in" or "factor something into" apparently must take an object, but in the sentence it did not. At first, I thought that there was a mistake in the sentence, namely I thought "having" had been used there as a modal verb "have to". But as Stoney B put it in a comment "to have something do something" means to experience something.

So was "factor into" used as an intransitive verb there as is it correct to do so?

  • 2
    I'm confused. To "factor X into Y" is a transitive verb, isn't it? And the sentence has both a subject (cost-of-care) and an object (end-of-life decisions). So what exactly is the issue? – Andrew Jan 17 '18 at 17:13
  • It might help to rewrite the sentence as: Many doctors and patients are uncomfortable with the idea of having to factor cost of care into end-of-life decisions. – Ronald Sole Jan 17 '18 at 17:24
  • Andrew. To me it would make sense if it would be like this: "...with the idea of having someone factor cost of care into end-of-life decisions." I don't think "end-of-life decisions" is the object. – Dmytro O'Hope Jan 17 '18 at 18:19

A person can "factor in X to Y" or we can say "X {non-person} factors into Y". The verb factor works both ways.

So we can say I am having X {person} factor Y [into Z] or I am having X {non-person} factor into Y.


I had the same question as you and my 50 cents is that the guy was wrong and should've used "play into" rather than "factor into". If he'd expressed the meaning as Ronald Soe suggests, it would've been right. Nick

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.