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I usually say

  • I confided my doubt to Mr X.

  • You can confide in me.

But I have seen a sentence

You should not confide *to*  stranger.

Is the above sentence right or should we replace confide to with confide in Can anyone enlighten me where to use in and to with confide.

1 Answer 1

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Both "confide in" and "confide to" are used, but they differ in meaning and their placement in a sentence.

But it is worth mentioning that the phrasal verb "confide" usually goes with the preposition "in", and it is actually an idiom. Here Ngram shows that.

"Confide in [someone]" means:

To trust someone with one's secrets or personal matters.

"Confide [something] in/to [someone]" means:

To tell a secret or private matter to someone, trusting that the person will not reveal the secret.

The Free Dictionary

Now, back to your examples:

1- I confided my secrets to Mr X.

This should be written like this:

I confided my doubt to Mr.X.

It means you told X, whom you trust, a private matter.

2- You can confide in me.

This simply means you can trust me.

3- You should not confide to stranger.

This should be written, in order to be totally correct:

a) You should not confide anything to a stranger.

b) You should not confide anything to strangers.

c) You should not confide in strangers.

They are all possible, but each one has a different meaning.

(a)+(b) means you shouldn't tell anything secretive or private to {a stranger / strangers}.

(c) means you shouldn't trust strangers generally.

In this example, "confide to" can be used alone, but it would be possible if it was followed by something as it means tell more than trust. So, you need a speech to actually talk about to that stranger.


I didn't find a definition for "Confide to" except when [something] is placed between the verb and its preposition, but here's a sentence where you can use it:

She confided to her friend that she smoked cigarettes last night.

With "confide in", it will become:

She confided in her friend about smoking cigarettes last night.

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