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Look at these sentences:

He admitted to have been arrested last year.

The applicant has not admitted to having been convicted of this misdemeanor.

Police say both subjects appeared to be under the influence and admitted to having been using meth.

Finally, 5.6% in our sample admitted to have been using substances to improve muscular-mass or athletic results at least once in the past.

There apparently wasn’t a problem until there was a problem that now has been admitted to having been made up.

Later admitted to have been made up in the 1960s by the vicar of St Olave's Church, Gatcombe.

Three of them use having been; and three of them use have been, but the situations seem to be the same, no? Is it because some of them are clearly placed in the past? What's the difference in their meaning? What kind of grammatical construction is that?

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  • For me the 1st sentence is incorrect.
    – nschneid
    Commented Dec 8, 2022 at 14:04
  • One important factor is whether "admitted" is active or passive. "Later admitted to..." here is actually passive: "(It was) later admitted to have been made up". I.e., somebody admitted that it was made up.
    – nschneid
    Commented Dec 8, 2022 at 14:07
  • Several of these are poor, even ungrammatical. Can you tell us where you found them?
    – mdewey
    Commented Dec 8, 2022 at 14:35
  • @mdewey the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 5th are from newspapers/court reports (all from the States, because I looked for how natives write/speak). The 4th one is from an academic paper . The last is from a Wikipedia article (which, I know, is not a good source for learning grammar)
    – August99
    Commented Dec 8, 2022 at 14:45
  • @nschneid, so the last one is actually proper grammar? So, the difference between the constructions is that one describes an acting individual and another is a passive-verb thingy? Both can work, right?
    – August99
    Commented Dec 8, 2022 at 15:10

2 Answers 2

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This one's simple: all the ones with "have" are bad grammar.

The word "admit" is followed by preposition "to" and the noun form of whatever action they're claiming they did. The word after "to" must be a noun. The auxiliary verb "have" isn't a noun, so those sentences are wrong. "Having" is a gerund, which is a noun form, so it's correct.

This Ngram shows how much more "admit to having" is used than "admit to have". All the examples of "admit to have done" are bad grammar, the result of poor proofreading.

Google Ngram of "admit to having done,admit to have done"

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  • Thank you very much. I just got very confused because I was able to find both versions in academic papers/newspapers, so I thought there might be a reason for it other than 'they are wrong'.
    – August99
    Commented Dec 8, 2022 at 14:36
  • Happens, I guess
    – August99
    Commented Dec 8, 2022 at 14:39
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I agree with @gotube's answer that "admit" does not normally take an infinitival complement, so "admit to have" should be ungrammatical. However, I had to think hard about the 4th sentence to decide whether was grammatical or not. I ended up doing a poll on Twitter and found some interesting results:

https://twitter.com/complingy/status/1601587230329671681

Basically, it seems that many native speakers don't see a problem with "admit to have been using" (which should properly be "admit to having been using"). I suspect it's because of a complicated series of auxiliaries and the similarity to "claim to have been using", which is perfectly grammatical.

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