+0
Hi!
Would you please take a look at the following two sentences?

A. The automobile company has sought to show its commitment to lower emissions through its use of state-of-the-art technology.
B. The automobile company has sought to show its commitment to lowering emissions through its use of state-of-the-art technology.

I have two questions:

Q1. What is the meaning of “commitment” in the above two sentences? A promise? The hard work and loyalty?
Q2. Which one do you think is correct? A? B? Both?

Thanks in advance.
1 2
Comments  
Only B is correct, if "to lower" is an infinitive in A. We commit to noun, we do not commit infinitive. This mistake is so common that many will consider it what Fowler called a "sturdy indefensible", a mistake condoned by usage.
enoonOnly B is correct, if "to lower" is an infinitive in A. We commit to noun, we do not commit infinitive.
I disagree. The gerund is more common, but there are examples of using the infinitive in the American Corpus:

Whether they will commit to make the movie is another matter.
We need to commit to have something there for them to come back to.
You should not buy or commit to buy a residence until you are satisfied that the floor plan will meet your needs.
As neutral institutions, they commit to serve by working with the people, their leaders, and other community organization.
And basically, kids graduate from high school, qualify to be in college, and commit to work their first year.
The Orthodox Church urged that " all believers and people of goodwill commit to work together to promote a peaceful and just resolution of this crisis.
Send a stamped, self-addressed envelope to: Commit to Get Fit,...

Fowler was the best grammar reference a hundred years ago, but is quite a bit antiquated.
Site Hint: Check out our list of pronunciation videos.
The so-called American Corpus is a compendium of journalist's illiteracies, for the most part. I said it was a common mistake, and all those quotes certainly support half that statement. Mistake it remains. It strikes my ear like a sour note in a trumpet solo.

EDIT: Oops.
enoonThe so-called American Corpus is a compendium of journalist's illiteracies,
Aha, spoken like a true prescriptivist! Emotion: smile
AlpheccaStarsAha, spoken like a true prescriptionist!
Descriptivism is for linguists, not for people who want to make good English.
Teachers: We supply a list of EFL job vacancies
enoonDescriptivism is for linguists, not for people who want to make good English.
So you think that the English language should be frozen with Fowler (c. 1900)? Why Fowler?
Why not go back further - eg Robert Lowth's English Grammar (c. 1800) , John Dryden (c. 1700) of don't-end-a-sentence-with-a-preposition fame, William Bullokar's Bref Grammar for English (1586), or perhaps something back to Chaucer (c. 1400) or "properly " inflected Old English? At what point would you draw that linguistic line in the sand?

The problem is that, as much as the advocates of prescriptivism might desire the language to be frozen, language usage changes, and there's nothing that can be done about it! Especially now that we are in the Information Age.

Samuel Johnson (1772) had some words to the wise:

When we see men grow old and die at a certain time one after another, from century to century, we laugh at the elixir that promises to prolong life to a thousand years; and with equal justice may the lexicographer be derided, who being able to produce no example of a nation that has preserved their words and phrases from mutability, shall imagine that his dictionary can embalm his language, and secure it from corruption and decay, that it is in his power to change sublunary nature, and clear the world at once from folly, vanity, and affectation.
Thank you all for your opinions.

What I just want to know is, whether it is concluded by prescriptivism or descriptivism, which expression is
1. good
2. bad
3. so-so.

I know that sometimes it is difficult to make a clear-cut distinction between “good” vs. “bad” vs. “so-so”, but also I believe that, even if it is hard to do, I should keep on trying to make the distinction so that I can learn “good” English. (AlpheccaStars, don’t you believe in “good” English?)

Let me show you my conclusion:
“If you use ‘commitment’ as ‘a promise to do sth’, you can use either ‘commitment to do sth’ or ‘commitment to doing sth’. (In this case, maybe Americans usually prefer ‘commitment to do sth’ to ‘commitment to doing sth’.<- Do you agree with me?)
If you use ‘commitment’ as ‘the hard work and loyalty’, you can ONLY use ‘commitment to doing sth’.

I made the above conclusion by referring to your discussions and the following:

commitment

1 [C] a promise to do something or to behave in a particular way:
[+ to]: • Our company has a commitment to equal pay and opportunities.
[commitment to do sth]: • There is a growing commitment to fight poverty.
2 the hard work and loyalty that someone gives to an organization, activity etc.:
[+ to]: • Our employees' commitment to their work shows in their high-quality output.”
((Longman Advanced American Dictionary))

commitment

1 [countable, uncountable] a promise to do something or to behave in a particular way; a promise to support someone or something; the fact of committing yourself
commitment (to someone/something)
• She doesn't want to make a big emotional commitment to Steve at the moment.
• the government's commitment to public services
commitment to do/doing something
• The company's commitment to providing quality at a reasonable price has been vital to its success.
2 [uncountable] commitment (to someone/something)
the willingness to work hard and give your energy and time to a job or an activity
• A career as an actor requires one hundred percent commitment.” ((Oxford Advanced American Dictionary))
AlpheccaStarsSo you think that the English language should be frozen with Fowler (c. 1900)? Why Fowler?Why not go back further - eg Robert Lowth's English Grammar (c. 1800) , John Dryden (c. 1700) of don't-end-a-sentence-with-a-preposition fame, William Bullokar's Bref Grammar for English (1586), or perhaps something back to Chaucer (c. 1400) or "properly " inflected Old English? At what point would you draw that linguistic line in the sand?
I'm not a prescriptivist, I'm an egotist. There is a slight difference.

I didn't cite Fowler, I borrowed a term. His concept of the sturdy indefensible has a lot of life left in it. I see it wrestled with every day in here (It's me. For you and I. Everyone should bare their soul.). May Fowler's brand of hard-nosed, sense-driven analysis never go out of style, whatever changes occur in our language.

Here's a word to the wise right back atcha (Lucretius):

For lapsing aeons change the nature of
The whole wide world, and all things needs must take
One status after other, nor aught persists
Forever like itself. All things depart;
Nature she changeth all, compelleth all
To transformation. Lo, this moulders down,
A-slack with weary eld, and that, again,
Prospers in glory, issuing from contempt.
In suchwise, then, the lapsing aeons change
The nature of the whole wide world, and earth
Taketh one status after other. And what
She bore of old, she now can bear no longer,
And what she never bore, she can to-day.
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
Show more