Reply to "Admit"

Hi, Mr President,

Mr President posted:

Karim admitted ..................... the plate and said he was sorry.
a) breaking            b) to break                  c) to breaking                d) break

This sentence is taken from a mock exam in the workbook of 3rd year secondary, Egypt. (practice test 5 B)

The answer in the book is "breaking" but I see no reason for not using both "breaking" and "to breaking". 


Strictly speaking, both answers 'breaking' and 'to breaking' are grammatically correct. In fact, I have seen more than one example like yours in different exams and the model answer always uses the '-ing form' without 'to'. There are two points I want to refer to here: 

1. 'Admit +' has two meanings. It could mean'allow (sth)' or 'confess / acknowledge'. 'Admit to +' has to do with 'confess / acknowledge', not 'permit or allow'.

2. Folwer says: The phrase admit to ( — confess to, acknowledge) is a relatively recent addition to the language: Senior Ministry of Defence officials yesterday admitted to a catalogue of errors —Times, 1989. The OED's earliest example is one of 1936.

Swan and others have listed 'admit' among the verbs followed by '', but  mentioned nothing about 'admit + to +'. The books we teach always use 'admit +', that's why it is always the model answer in the exam although 'admit to +' is also grammatically correct. 


Last edited by ahmed_btm