2

Which of those two sentences is correct?

  1. People were led into thinking that method X was beneficial for Y.

or

  1. People were led to think that method X was beneficial for Y.

Perhaps you also have an explanation why one or the other is correct?

EDIT

It is safe to assume that all words unrelated to the question (words that are neither the preposition after "led" nor a form of the verb "think") are correct and there is no need to point out that those could be incorrect, depending on the context of use.

  • Are you speaking of a situation where people were a) intentionally or b) unintentionally... led to/into a 1) true or 2) false conclusion? There are four possibilities there, each with a best way to express it. – Brian Hitchcock Apr 20 '15 at 7:28
  • @BrianHitchcock I assumed "lead into thinking / lead to think" always meant arriving at a false conclusion. But anyway: I am describing a situation were people are unintentionally led to a false conclusion. – Mathias Müller Apr 20 '15 at 7:37
1

When you lead X {infinitive}, you are saying that you are causing X to do or be in a state of doing the verb identified in the infinitive.

When you lead X into Y, you are saying that you are causing X to be moved (i.e. bringing X) inside of/within/surrounded by Y - that's what the preposition in/into means.'

With lead X into Y, Y can be a gerund, which makes it mean the same as lead X {infinitive}, but possibly with a slight implication that X did not originally plan to do Y. This distinction, if it exists, probably matters more in written text, like in a story, than in conversation.

We followed the map which led us to walk down this path.

That crazy squirrel led us into walking down this path.

  • Thanks for this interesting hypothesis! But I assumed "into" and "to" to be highly grammaticalized in this case and thought they have lost their original spatial meaning in this process of becoming part of the grammar. – Mathias Müller Jan 19 '15 at 12:31
0

Both are probably correct but the latter is better in my opinion. They both mean the same thing and it is shorter and simpler.

  • 2
    You're saying both are "probably correct" - what makes you unsure about their correctness? I'm interested in whether one of them (or both) are definitely correct. – Mathias Müller Jan 19 '15 at 11:56
  • 2
    @Mathias - It's hard to say that something is absolutely correct when there is little surrounding context. For example, if only one person was led to believe something, then people would not be the right word to use. – J.R. Jan 19 '15 at 12:04
  • 1
    Examples of both can be found in published books, but the shorter and simpler version seems to be strongly preferred in writing. This answer provides sound guidance; I'm led to think the lone downvote seems rather harsh. – J.R. Jan 19 '15 at 12:09
  • @J.R. I'm aware of the meaning of "people", but I see what you are implying. I meant to ask about the correctness of both sentences, given that all words that are neither the preposition after "led" nor a form of the verb "think" are definitely correct. I did not downvote, by the way - and I appreciate the pun :-). – Mathias Müller Jan 19 '15 at 12:19
  • Also, @J.R., perhaps you could turn your comments into an answer? – Mathias Müller Jan 19 '15 at 12:25
0

(1) People were led into thinking that method X was beneficial for Y.

(2) People were led to think that method X was beneficial for Y.

I like (2) better. "led to" jives better with the sentence, the way you set it up.

Example of "led into": From years of brainwashing, I had been led into thinking of fats and oils as the bad guy in nutrition. This construction is often used to suggest some type of "leading down the garden path," in other words, there's some misleading or deception going on. It can be used in other ways, but still, this is pretty common. And that is the feeling that I get from (1).

Lead to think doesn't usually have that connotation.

It's possible I was jumping to conclusions about what you were trying to express... but at any rate, now you'll be able to choose, depending on your degree of skepticism!

  • Thanks for your answer. So, does "led to think that method X was beneficial for Y" actually include the possibility that X really is beneficial for Y? – Mathias Müller Apr 20 '15 at 7:41

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.