Could anyone help me to understand the use of the preposition "into" in the below sentence.

  1. I was badly bullied into posting this video on Instagram. / I was badly bullied into posting this. (either case) --- why into??

also, let say, "I was badly bullied for posting this." What is the difference between the former and the latter??

  • Hello nityananthan murugan and welcome to ELL! On this site, we're only allowed to ask one question at a time, so I have removed your second question. If you would still like to ask about the difference between "I ran into an old friend" and "I met an old friend of mine", please ask this in a new question.
    – gotube
    Commented Apr 30, 2023 at 17:39
  • @gotube In this case, I think the two parts form(ed) a good ‘why this way here but a different way there?’ pair.
    – Lawrence
    Commented May 4, 2023 at 23:35
  • @Lawrence While the second question included the word "into", it was about a different meaning of the word, and it was asking to compare it with the verb "met", which has nothing to do with the first question. A perfectly good answer to the first question wouldn't even touch on the second. That's why I decided it was a separate second question. Beyond that, there's probably already answers to the second question elsewhere on the site.
    – gotube
    Commented May 5, 2023 at 5:16

2 Answers 2


"Bullied into" suggests a reluctance to do something, and eventually doing it only because of the bullying. In terms of grammatical function, the action is the result of bullying.

"Bullied for" suggests that the action took place prior to the bullying. Grammatically (though probably not logically or ethically), the action was the cause of the bullying.

As for "run into" vs "met", the former suggests a chance encounter whereas the latter is more general. You can deliberately arrange to "meet" but we would not normally describe such a meeting using the words "run into".

The basic idea for “into” is the same in both cases: some kind of physical or metaphoric entry. “Bullied into something” suggests that bullying (metaphorically) pushed the victim into the situation where they felt compelled to do what the bully wanted. “Ran into” suggests entering someone’s personal space, with the more literal connotation of charging in and knocking them down, or the less literal and less violent sense of accidentally encountering them.

  • Thank you @Lawrence. Commented May 2, 2023 at 2:18
  • @nityananthanmurugan You’re welcome.
    – Lawrence
    Commented May 4, 2023 at 23:32

“To bully someone into doing something.” That phrase has a similar meaning, and a parallel structure, to “to talk someone into doing something.” Both these expressions are using phrasal verbs: “to X someone into doing something.”

Yours means to cause them, by means of bullying, to do the thing. Mine means to persuade them to do it.

As for Why into? There is no good reason. That’s exactly how phrasal verbs work: you can’t work out their meaning by simply combining the individual meanings of their constituents. Phrasal verbs are the bane of many English learners.


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