My friend was telling me an old story. He used the following lines:

There were two childhood friends, Drupad and Dron. They studied in the same school. Drupad was a prince and Dron was a son of a peasant. Once Drupad promised Dron that when he would become a king, he would give Dron half of his kingdom. So when Drupad became a king, Dron asked Drupad to give him half of the kingdom as Drupad had promised. On this, Drupad replied that he had given that promise in immaturity.

By the sentence he had given that promise in immaturity, he meant that he had given that promise due to his immaturity.

This combination in immaturity looks somewhat weird. Is it a natural way of using this word? Is there a better replacement for this word such as in naivety?

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    Well, it could be OK: to give a promise in love, to give a promise in all truthfulness, etc. He gave that promise because he was immature.
    – Lambie
    Commented May 21, 2018 at 12:33
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    The cited text doesn't necessarily have to imply due to / because of his immaturity - that's just a contextual inference (because the speaker wants to renege on his promise, so he's trying to "undermine" his earlier commitment). All it actually specifies is that he made the promise when he was immature (i.e. in = during [the immature phase of his life]). But it's unusual / dated / poetic phrasing, which you wouldn't be likely to use in normal speech today. Commented May 21, 2018 at 12:40
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    Compare He gave his promise in hopes / hope / the hope of saving their lives. It's really just a matter of "how you see it" as to whether in there introduces the reason he gave his promise, or his condition, state of mind when he did it. Commented May 21, 2018 at 12:51
  • @ FumbleFingers So, I think we can also use "in childishness/juvenility" here because that is again a state of mind. Commented May 21, 2018 at 13:30

1 Answer 1


It is not ungrammatical but neither is it natural, in 2018, to say "in immaturity" in that particular context, where a person is speaking of his youth.

The phrase in immaturity is normally used nowadays to refer to a phase of development of creatures as studied by a biologist or zoologist or physiologist or psychologist. The phrase is in a scientific register.

Many readers of the Bulletin are doubtless familiar with a phase of plumage of Zonotrichia albicollis, occurring in spring, which appears to be the normal dress of this species in immaturity...

But just a slight change would make it more natural, if still a bit stilted: in my immaturity.

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