Three years apart, two SOS about ‘resulting to’ and ‘resulting in’

Jose A. Carillo

Jose A. Carillo

For those who’ve agonized or still agonize over the choice between the phrasal verbs “resulting to” and “resulting in,” I’d like to draw parallels between an SOS sent to me by a business columnist about the subject in 2013 and a more recent SOS I came across on Twitter, this time by a noted journalist/broadcaster whose passion for good English is, I think, beyond question.

This was his SOS that I stumbled upon on Twitter last October 17: “I am too tired to check. Is it ‘resulted in’ or ‘resulted to’? Please naman settle this once and for all somebody.” I was automatically copied that tweet after a fellow Twitterer responded by sending him a link to this posting of mine in Jose Carillo’s English Forum in April 2013 about an SOS e-mailed to me by that business columnist:

|“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, piqued and challenging. 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.”

Here, slightly condensed, is my reply to him:

I’m afraid that my book doesn’t cite a definitive rule on the usage of the form “resulting in,” but that form does appear in the list of “frequently misused phrases using prepositions” that I provided in my earlier book, English Plain and Simple. In her pique, however, your lady friend obviously won’t find the mere appearance of “resulting in” in that list as a convincing argument against her preference for “resulting to.”

Let me then cite two authoritative sources to support the strong primacy of “resulting in” over “resulting to”:
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.”

Now, by definition, a phrasal verb consists of a verb and a preposition or adverb that modifies or changes the meaning of that verb; for instance, “give up” is a phrasal verb that means “stop doing” something, which is very different from “give.” The word or words that modify a verb in this manner is also known as a particle.

Of course, some will argue that the form “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, well-accepted usage. 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.

I trust that when your grammar adversary reads this explanation, she’d be enlightened and finally relent in her defense of the form “result to.”(

Now, back to the present day and to that journalist/broadcaster’s SOS. It appears that he had already made a decision based on earlier feedback, so he tweeted: “Resulting IN wins! That’s it.” Just then the tweeted link to the above posting of mine reached him. Evidently flustered, he tweeted back before reading it: “Oh, God, no, not a different conclusion from IN is it.”

It was the same conclusion though, “resulting in” and not “resulting to,” so in a while he tweeted again: “Whew, thanks!”

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