Can anybody explain why there to be such a phrase: ' be to blame'? sb / sth is to blame (for sth), used to say that someone or something is responsible for something bad: Officials believe that more than one person may be to blame for the fire. ( In dictionaries this phrase is arranged in the verb part of speech, not the noun part. And if blame in this phrase is a noun, there should be new problem: why 'be to blame' instead of' other prepositions? ). I'm curious about the origion or history of this phrase. As we know, you cannot say ' sb/sth is to criticize ' or ' is to rebuke', instead we say' should be criticized/rebuked for sth'. Why is blame different from other verbs?
Dec 12, 2016 10:49 PM
Answers · 4
"To blame" here is like a noun or adjective. "He is tall." "He is fat." "He is to blame." Don't think of it like a verb. We have other constructions like this: "That is [to be] expected." "Our meeting time is [to be] determined (TBD)." "That's for me [to know] and you [to find out]." "Tomorrow I am [to go] to the meeting in her place." Etc. Your question is actually answered here:
December 12, 2016
To "be to blame" for something is just an expression. I doubt anyone can give you the reason why "blame" has to be used this way. And it really doesn't matter. While it can be interesting in finding the historic reason for something existing in a language, if it's possible to even find one, it really doesn't advance language learning much (other than helping you remember the use of the word, if you have the time). Languages are all weird in that respect. You just have to accept the way things are said and move on. Sorry. It's not much of an answer, but it's the best I can do as a native English speaker and one who's studied other languages as well. And you are right. To "blame" does carry negative connotations. You can't say, for example, "Who's to blame for giving me this great Christmas gift?" But, you would say, "Who's to blame for starting this fire." Sounds like you've got a good grip on English, so I sure wouldn't worry about it.
December 12, 2016
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