"put sb up to sth" vs " lead sb on" What is the difference between the phrasal verbs "put sb up to sth" and "lead sb on" when we talk about encouraging someone to do something they should not do? May I use both verbs in the examples below? Are the sentences correct and natural? 1a He's normally such a well-behaved child. Someone must have put him up to it. 1b He's normally such a well-behaved child. Someone must have led him on. 2a Many young kids start smoking at school, led on by their friends. 2b Many young kids start smoking at school, put up to it by their friends.
Sep 5, 2018 6:50 AM
Answers · 7
Hi Ksenia, There is, with “lead somebody on” another more common meaning. It means to pretend to like someone in a dating situation more than you do. For example: Because she still had feelings for her ex-boyfriend, Tom, she really led Mark on. It wasn’t at all fair to Mark. To put someone up to something has only the meaning of trying to get someone to do something that it perhaps cheeky. For example: Sarah dropped a water balloon from the balcony onto her little brother. I think Janice put her up to it. Janice is older and often gets Sarah in trouble.
September 5, 2018
Generally I think the two phrases can be and are used interchangeably, in UK English anyway, but there is a small difference in meaning if you want to be precise - to put someone up to something implies something specific, a discrete act, e.g: 'Johnny broke a window at school. He's such a good kid, someone must have put him up to it.' Whereas referring to someone being led lends itself more as a phrase to both the general and specific, as in being led in a particular direction, e.g: 'Since getting in with the wrong crowd Johnny started smoking, now I even caught him drinking. Clearly he's being led on by that group.'
September 5, 2018
1a and 2a sound the best. when i hear "Put someone up to it," I think they watched as the person did it, whereas, "led them on," is more like they did itb with them. Cool question!
September 5, 2018
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