Both the following are commonly used: "to take delight in" and "they delighted in" Recently, I read in an article a usage that was different from these. The author had written,

"They delight eating the salads made with local greens and fruits"

It sounded odd to me as it didn't have "in" after delight. Is this sentence grammatical?

  • 4
    It should sound wrong; it's an error, and, as you have noticed, 'in' is missing before 'eating'. Commented Jul 8 at 10:21
  • 5
    "Delight" is not a catenative verb so it can't take a non-finite clause as complement. It typically requires either an NP (e.g. "They delighted us") or a PP (e.g. "They delighted in making a mess" / "They were delighted by the clowns", the latter being a passive clause.
    – BillJ
    Commented Jul 8 at 11:36

1 Answer 1


As noted in the comments, you are right and this was incorrect. The verb to delight is to cause a feeling of joy or wonder. So saying "[Subject] delights..." means that the subject is causing someone else to experience joy. Here are some examples of delight used as a verb.

  • The fireworks delighted the audience on New Year's.
  • My young niece delights me every time I see her.
  • Our fresh, local salads will delight customers.

On the other hand, as a noun, delight refers to the recipient, and often needs a preposition like in. Here are the same three sentences but with the word order and function changed so that delight is now serving as a noun:

  • Customers will take delight in our fresh, local salads. (see here how the subject and verb have changed, such that delight is now serving as a noun - the emotion itself).

  • My young niece is a delight.

  • The audience were filled with delight when they saw the New Year's fireworks.

  • In other words, eating salads delights Bob, and Bob takes delight in eating salads.
    – Flater
    Commented Jul 9 at 3:26

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