I read a sentence in "The Hindu" which was:

In fact, the EC had appeared to be willing itself into inaction amid a flurry of abusive and divisive speeches by pleading powerlessness.

I don't quite understand the part "willing itself into inaction".


In this usage "willing" refers to the will of the EC, as in the will (wish, desire) of a person or group of people. As a verb it means the action of exerting one's choice, upon whomever or whatever the direct object is.

In this case, when the direct object is a first person pronoun ("itself", "myself", "themselves"), that is to say the direct object is the same entity as the subject, "willing" means focusing, concentrating, or otherwise mentally exerting oneself to do something or affect some result.

To relate back to your example sentence, "the EC...willing itself into inaction" means that the EC made a focused, conscious, intentional effort to not do anything, to take no action.

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.