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When you're trying to get the other party to converse about given subject, you drive or steer a conversation towards it. What preposition should be used with the following sentence?

The conversation has been driven […] [at] the subject.

Would into or onto be the correct preposition?

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If you’re going to use “driven” in this context, I think you’ll need to go with “by” as your proposition, followed by the person or (more often) the concern defining the conversation or moving it forward (not, as in your example, the destination of the driving).

Example: The conversation was driven by Andrew's love of all things British.
or: The conversation was driven by their shared desire not to harm the bees.

To stay closer to the statement you’re looking for, you rightly suspect that “steering” will work perfectly.

As for the preposition, I recommend “toward(s)” as in:

I managed to steer the conversation towards school bus fires so that I could tell my heroic tale.

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I would say "The conversation has been driven off the subject." You could also say "The conversation has been driven off-topic."

I misunderstood your question. I don't think that the sentence that you are proposing is natural in general. You could, perhaps, say, "The conversation has been driven to the subject." But that sounds odd to me. I would be more likely to use the verb "directed to" rather than "driven to".

  • What about steering it? And of course the passive form sounds unnatural - I specifically meant the use of actively and unnoticeably to the other party of getting them to talk of certain subjects. I have managed to steer the conversation to subject... - would that be okay? – SF. Aug 20 '13 at 19:22
  • @SF. That still sounds wrong to me. You could say, "I have managed to steer the conversation to this subject." – Daniel Aug 20 '13 at 19:31
  • ...to the subject of...? – SF. Aug 20 '13 at 20:28

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