‘Forbidden to’ or ‘forbidden from’?”

 Both are right. You can forbid someone to do something or you can forbid someone from doing something. “

Here’s an example * “My parents have forbidden me to play cricket.” * “He was forbidden to marry the girl next door.” * “I have been forbidden to stay out after seven.” * “My uncle should forbid his daughter from using the telephone.” * “My father has forbidden me from leaving the house after 8:00 in the evening.” * “I forbid most people from smoking in my room.”

 S. UPENDRAN, The Hindu- KYE February 05, 2002

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11 thoughts on “‘Forbidden to’ or ‘forbidden from’?”

  1. I guess, we use ‘forbid from’ when we know who is actually forbidding sth. When we speak generally, ‘forbid to’ is correct 🙂

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  3. In the following text, the de-facto standard practice is used of marking nongrammatical or nonsensical sentences with a * and marginally grammatical ones with a question mark.

    It is not true that we always forbid someone. The object of “forbid” is either the agent/object who wants to do the banned activity, or the activity.

    Examples of activity being the object of forbid:

    It is forbidden to smoke.
    Smoking is forbidden.
    To smoke is forbidden.

    The preposition “from” cannot be used when the activity is the object:

    It is forbidden from smoking. *

    Examples of the person being the object of forbid:

    I forbid you to smoke.
    She forbade me to smoke.
    We forbid customers to smoke.

    The preposition “from” is required when the forbidden activity is expressed as a gerund (continuative) connected to the “forbidden” past participle:

    Customers of this shop are forbidden from smoking.

    Customers of this shop are forbidden to smoking.*

    In fact “from smoking” is better, because it removes an ambiguity. The object of forbid can also be a prohibited object:

    In the Garden of Eden, there was a forbidden apple.

    In the Garden of Eden, the apple was forbidden to eat.

    In the Garden of Eden, the apple was forbidden from eating.*

    The last two sentences have different meaning. Both are grammatical, but the second one is semantic nonsense because its only possible interpretation is that the apple is the agent which is to be performing the action of eating.

    • “the apple was forbidden to eat” is the identical nonsense. It should be “The people were forbidden to eat the apple” or “to eat the apple was forbidden” or “eating the apple was forbidden.” The patient was forbidden to eat.

      I feel that the “forbid to [infinitive]” constructions are more emphatic and stronger than the “forbid from [gerund]” constructions.

      • It is not. Your examples are also correct, except for the last. Ok, it is indeed forbidden to eat the patient (or any patinet), but in most hospitals that goes without saying.

  4. Either will be ok, I’m sure. I can fully understand someone insists the expression of ‘forbid sb to do’ is only correct, ’cause the expression of ‘forbid sb from ~ing’ used to be close to ‘spoken English’; however, ever since some time, the expression of the latter – ‘forbid sb from ~ing’ has become formal one, undoubtedly.

    You can refer to the webpage – ‘http://www.ldoceonline.com/dictionary/forbid’

  5. Arun is right. “Forbid from” is awkward and inelegant. “I forbid you from going out” requires a preposition and a gerund, but “I forbid you to go out” just uses the infinitive–it’s simpler to write and easier to pronounce and uses fewer words.

  6. I fully agree that the word forbidden can collocate with ‘to’ and ‘from’ in whichever form. I would like somebody to convince me why it would be wrong to use ‘forbid from’

  7. Depending on the sentence construct, both usages appear correct and possible. Certainly, forbid to… would sound more sensible but there are many cases of Imperfect English which Mr Fowler has allowed so long as one understands and accepts the original intention.

  8. The above mentioned explanation seems wrong.
    We always forbid someone to do something (NOT ‘forbid someone from doing something’).

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