Alas, the rogue phrase ‘result to’ is still very much alive and kicking!

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THE other day, just when I thought I had seen the last of “resulting to” usurping the role of the phrasal verb “resulting in,” I received this note from a reader indicating that the rogue usage is still very much alive and kicking: “Hi Sir!You know, I have always wondered which is correct, ‘resulting in’ or ‘resulting to’ (homicide, murder, etc.).”

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That note of wonderment surprised me because the reader (I won’t name her to protect her privacy) is a former communications officer of a government agency—someone who should have already known the correct usage many years back when she was still active in communication circles.

My first impulse was to send her the following spot-on illustrative example of “resulting to” usage in a leading Metro Manila broadsheet that I critiqued in Jose Carillo’s English Forum five years ago: “The Cebu City Police Office finally filed charges for reckless imprudence resulting to homicide against eight defendants two weeks after five construction workers were killed when the firewall of a mall they were working on collapsed.”

In my critique, I observed that this ill-advised usage of “resulting to” isn’t uncommon in newspaper journalism. I then replaced it with the phrasal verb “resulting in”: “The Cebu City Police Office finally filed charges for reckless imprudence resulting in homicide against eight defendants two weeks after five construction workers were killed when the firewall of a mall they were working on collapsed.”

I was about to e-mail that example to her when I remembered that in April of 2013, I had occasion to discuss the vexing “resulting to”/“resulting in” problem much more extensively in response to this SOS from a newspaper columnist-friend of mine:

“Joe, I corrected somebody’s ‘resulting to.’ I said it should be ‘resulting in.’ ‘Show me the rule that says it should be “resulting in,”’ said she in a piqued and challenging manner. I immediately picked up your book Give Your English the Winning Edge and looked for the relevant rule. I didn’t see it or I couldn’t find it. Please cite me the rule before the lady goes into a rage.”

Sure that my reply to that newspaper columnist would be much more instructive and enlightening (http://tinyurl.com/m8293ff), I sent to the former communications officer the link to that reply instead.

Here are the pertinent points of that reply:

“I’m afraid that my book Give Your English the Winning Edge doesn’t cite a definitive rule on the usage of the form ‘resulting in,’ so let me refer you to two authoritative sources to support the strong primacy of ‘resulting in’ over ‘resulting to’ in English usage.

“The Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus classifies ‘result in something’ as a phrasal verb that means ‘to cause a particular situation to happen,’ as in
‘The fire resulted in damage to their property.’

“In the same vein, the McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs classifies ‘result in something’ as an idiom that means ‘to achieve something; to bring about something; to cause something to happen,’ as in ‘I hope that this will result in the police finding your car.’

“I don’t know of any English usage authority that cites or vouches for ‘result to something’ as a legitimate idiom or phrasal verb. Of course, some will argue that the phrase‘result to’ can be used as well to yield the same meaning and, admittedly, it would be difficult to refute their argument from a grammar standpoint alone.

“Among native English speakers, however, the form ‘result in’ is the conventional and well-accepted usage, such that it can safely be said that it is indeed the correct idiom.

Thus, those who persist in using ‘result to’ in educated circles put themselves at risk of being deemed uninformed or—at the very least—unidiomatic in their English.”

Visit Jose Carillo’s English Forum at http://josecarilloforum.com. Visit me on Facebook. Follow me at Twitter.com @J8Carillo.

j8carillo@yahoo.com

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