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    • Join Date: Sep 2006
    • Posts: 90
    #1

    instil vs infuse

    OK, this is a difficult one.
    I need to choose the correct option to complete the following sentence.
    My parents always tried to ...................... a sense of integrity into me.
    a. instil b. infuse c. inlay d. inset.
    Apparently, the correct option is "a. instil".
    However, I found the following definitions for "infuse":
    a. (often foll. by into) to instil or inculcate. (Collins English dictionary)
    b. to introduce as by pouring; cause to penetrate; instil (often fol. by into) : to infuse loyalty into the new employees. (Webster dictionary)
    So, what's the reason it's not valid to complete the above sentence?
    Many thanks.

  1. Noego's Avatar
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      • Canada
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    • Join Date: Mar 2007
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    #2

    Re: instil vs infuse

    I got it!

    I took me a while to think it through.

    Look at what my dictionary says about instill:

    "to put a feeling, idea or principle gradually into someone's mind, so that it has a strong influence on the way they think or behave"

    In your example, the parents gradually tried to instill integrity as you don't learn a value overnight, it takes a while to integrate it.

    Here's a definition of infuse:

    "to fill someone or something with an emotion or quality"

    The key to understanding the right answer lies in understanding that if you instill a quality you do it gradually, just like when parents are raising their children.

    I think it's always a good idea to look at a few sets of definitions. One definition might give you the clue you need.


    • Join Date: Jun 2004
    • Posts: 1,369
    #3

    Re: instil vs infuse

    "Inlay" and "inset" clearly don't fit, since AFAIK they don't have a figurative meaning.
    "Infuse" carries the idea of something spreading, like a teabag of course, or a drop of ink on blotting paper. I would say that you can infuse life, or feelings, among a group of people.
    "Instill" (I spell it with two "l", but that's probably AE) is the best fit here, since its "step-by-step" nuance works well for a single individual, and values like integrity.

    My 2 cents.

  2. Noego's Avatar
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      • Native Language:
      • French
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      • Canada
      • Current Location:
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    • Join Date: Mar 2007
    • Posts: 583
    #4

    Re: instil vs infuse

    For the record, about instill/instil:

    They are both correct, just like traveling/travelling

    UK: instil
    US: instill

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