I know "lead to" (or "result in") can be used in such ways like

  1. How severe maternal inflammation can lead to autism-like behavior

  2. Stress, anxiety, depression can lead to heart disease

  3. Can Secondhand Smoke Lead To Weight Gain?

(all from Google News headlines)

But if I want to say something like:

  1. due to the inflammation, a baby can develop1 an autism-like behavior

with "lead to", what is the grammatically correct way? Can I say:

  1. Inflammation can lead the baby developing an autism-like behavior

1 Not even sure if this is a correct verb to use with "behavior" in terms of collocation

1 Answer 1


You need to include the word to with the verb lead. Lead to is a phrasal verb that needs both words:

Inflammation can lead to the baby developing an autism-like behavior.

The verb developing is fine there. I would probably omit the indefinite article referring to behavior (although leaving it is is not ungrammatical):

Inflammation can lead to the baby developing autism-like behavior.

  • 2
    Although I agree with the grammar of the answer, "lead to the baby developing" is an awkward phrase and one an editor would change to something simpler and more direct. "Maternal inflammation can lead to autistic behavior in the child".
    – TimR
    Jan 31, 2016 at 12:19

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