Is it grammatical to say "according to the law" instead of "according the law"?

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Is it grammatical to say "according to the law" instead of "according the law"?

If so, is there any difference in meaning?

Anixx

Posted 2017-11-16T04:02:57.470

Reputation: 1 888

4I believe you want to ask if it is "grammatically correct" to say... I don't think "is it grammatical to say" carries the right meaning. – Muhammad bin Yusrat – 2017-11-16T07:18:31.207

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@MuhammadbinYusrat yes it does, actually. Something can be grammatical or not. It's an adjective, just like any other.

– terdon – 2017-11-16T08:17:05.470

9It would be better if you could show a complete example sentence - a few words out of context can be very ambiguous in English! – Toby Speight – 2017-11-16T14:05:37.097

3To illustrate how important the example sentence is, suppose you had incorrectly extracted this phrase from its context as suggested in one of the answers below? You would then be told the wrong meaning of what you had read. In such cases not only do you need an example sentence, it must be the same sentence in which you encountered the sequence of words. – David K – 2017-11-16T14:09:28.830

4The question definitely needs some context; that is, was there some particular text where "according the law" was used? – robin – 2017-11-16T20:24:48.000

3Did you mean to say "according to law" instead of "according the law"? – kojow7 – 2017-11-17T04:17:04.347

Answers

68

When an average person hears the words according and law, the first thing that probably comes to their mind is the expression according to the law. So, no, according the law is incorrect. You should always say according to the law. according to something is actually a set phrase in English and you just can't leave the to out from it. It's part of the expression and therefore it must be there. Nor can you say according of the law. Again, that's just incorrect grammar.

However, according the law would still be grammatically correct, but it would mean a completely different thing. In this case, according is the present participle of the verb to accord which means to give or grant something to someone. For example:

Accord the law the necessary status in society is a task of the highest priority if we are to build a fair and just legal system.

Michael Rybkin

Posted 2017-11-16T04:02:57.470

Reputation: 37 124

But it's "regarding the law", not "regarding to it" – Ooker – 2017-11-16T06:43:16.053

1I'm totally with you on that. – Michael Rybkin – 2017-11-16T07:24:03.990

22We don't always say "according to the law"; sometimes we say "according to law". – rjpond – 2017-11-16T08:05:12.980

I'm afraid this answer is incorrect. mcalex has given a fine example of the words "according the law" used properly. – Dawood ibn Kareem – 2017-11-16T08:40:09.910

6I think I've heard "according to law" once or twice, but I don't think this is a common phrasing. It might be British though. – Michael Rybkin – 2017-11-16T08:48:02.327

Actually, the ngrams say that "according to law" is more common in US English than UK English. But either way, the question was about "according the law", which is far less common than either "according to law" or "according to the law". Of course, all three are perfectly grammatical (and yes, I am a native speaker of English). – Dawood ibn Kareem – 2017-11-16T08:52:45.140

15On the very reasonable assumption that the questioner thinks "according the law" means the same as 'according to the law" (which it doesn't) this is a good answer. – DJClayworth – 2017-11-16T15:06:11.137

Well, if there is not enough context, you have to make assumptions. As you aptly pointed out, it's very reasonable to assume that the OP thinks that "according to the law" might possibly be made shorter by tossing out the "to". – Michael Rybkin – 2017-11-16T15:10:10.927

10@DawoodibnKareem A possible reason "according to law" would rank higher could be that it lends itself to more phrases, such as "according to law professionals," "according to law books," "according to law theory." Furthermore, I would consider both of those to be valid usages, but with slight differences that render them subtly more or less appropriate, based on the context. The question here is more about "according to (noun with or without article)" versus "according (noun with or without article)." Obviously, the latter is incorrect in all scenarios. – bubbleking – 2017-11-16T20:34:57.007

"according the law is completely incorrect": no, it is not. See mcalex's answer.

– phoog – 2017-11-18T11:14:34.617

5"According the law" would be correct in some constructions, e.g. "While I favor according the law a great deal of deference, this decision is unjust." That's unlikely to be what the asker was looking for, but there also isn't any context. – fectin – 2017-11-18T18:18:25.117

73

In the usual context of these words, as others have pointed out, one invariably says 'according to the law'.

However, you can use 'according the law', just not in the context you're referring to. To illustrate:

In areas of open lawlessness, according the law the respect it deserves can be difficult, if not impossible to achieve.

This obviously uses 'according' as a verb, not a preposition as in the example sentences.

I mention this usage as I don't think "No, according the law is completely incorrect," or "Only “according to the law” is correct" are entirely correct.

Kevin notes: This usage is dated and seldom used anymore.

mcalex

Posted 2017-11-16T04:02:57.470

Reputation: 6 050

16This seems a stretch to me; yes, the words are in the order specified in the question, but "according the law" is not a phrase in this sentence, only "according X the respect it deserves", with X substituted for "the law". There are many coincidences of word order like this, and if this quote was in the question, the answer would still be that "according the law" is not a grammatical phrase, and the sentence has been parsed wrong if that "phrase" was picked out. – IMSoP – 2017-11-16T09:27:36.540

16@IMSoP Possibly, but we have no context within which to make that kind of judgment. It's very possible that the OP saw the phrase 'according the law', and parsed it incorrectly, hence the confusion. – Strawberry – 2017-11-16T12:16:10.840

1Should note too that, in this case (when it's being used as a verb), I would say that "according to the law" is also correct i.e. "according to the law the respect it deserves". That answers the original question. – owjburnham – 2017-11-16T15:16:48.047

Let's give the OP the benefit of the doubt. Most likely s/he heard or saw the words "according the law" as part of a phrase and also later saw or heard the phrase "according to the law" and wondered why the need for those pesky two letters in the latter case. I'm giving the OP the benefit of the doubt in guessing s/he didn't think "according the law" was a phrase at all but a not-entirely-uncommon sequence of words. – Ramy – 2017-11-16T16:38:20.193

2@IMSoP For native or highly skilled speakers, the difference between the two cases is clear, but to those with less mastery, it can be a lot harder to distinguish between two cases that use the same words but with different meanings. I'd say the best answer in this case would mention both cases. – Cronax – 2017-11-16T16:54:13.777

Downvote because you are using the wrong word. You afford something the respect it deserves, not accord. – Kevin – 2017-11-16T20:45:03.933

3@Kevin - You can also use accord as a transitive verb, meaning "give" or "grant," but it's very uncommon and will no doubt be far less common than usages of "according to (something)." – bubbleking – 2017-11-16T20:51:01.823

@bubbleking That usage is extremely dated – Kevin – 2017-11-16T20:57:54.020

5@Kevin - That may be, but now that multiple users have mentioned it, I don't think it's appropriate to insist that mcalex is "using the wrong word" or to downvote for it. I hadn't heard the usage before finding this discussion, but I've been convinced that it does, in fact, have a legitimate, albeit rare, existence. If I had delivered a downvote for it, and then read the supporting evidence, I would be compelled to remove my downvote. – bubbleking – 2017-11-16T21:06:18.470

1@bubbleking if the was the English Language exchange, I would agree with you. But since this is for Learners, I think suggesting something that would get them strange looks from most people is not a good idea. Especially without mentioning that it is a dated and very uncommon usage – Kevin – 2017-11-17T03:55:26.790

4@Kevin It's not extremely dated, but it is obscure. But do you know where it is used? Ironically enough, it's a phrase you'd most likely come across in contracts and law! – corsiKa – 2017-11-17T15:52:18.417

1Just to add to the confusion, you could use according to the law the respect it deserves to give the same meaning as according the law the respect it deserves. But you can't use according the law I have the right to unicorns to give the same meaning as according to the law I have the right to unicorns. – nekomatic – 2017-11-17T15:56:04.387

@nekomatic It helps to clear the confusion a little to note that your first phrase changes the indirect object of the participle according (in the second phrase) to an object of a preposition, following the method that indirect objects can be rephrased as a to / for prepositional phrase. In both cases, the word according could be replaced with the synonymous giving or granting. – Jed Schaaf – 2017-11-19T03:51:11.930

@Kevin Absolutely not. Accord and afford mean completely different things. This is not by any stretch of the imagination “using the wrong word”. Afford someone respect barely even makes sense—and it is also about ten times rarer than accord someone respect.

– Janus Bahs Jacquet – 2017-11-19T12:53:18.793

@JanusBahsJacquet One of the definitions of afford is to give or confer upon. That specific usage (with respect) might be more common, but generally speaking [https://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=accord+PRON+respect%2Cafford+PRON+respect%2Caccord+PRON++NOUN%2Cafford+PRON+NOUN&year_start=1900&year_end=2008&corpus=15&smoothing=3&share=&direct_url=t1%3B%2Caccord%20_PRON_%20respect%3B%2Cc0%3B.t1%3B%2Cafford%20_PRON_%20respect%3B%2Cc0%3B.t1%3B%2Caccord%20_PRON_%20_NOUN_%3B%2Cc0%3B.t1%3B%2Cafford%20_PRON_%20_NOUN_%3B%2Cc0](the opposite is true) – Kevin – 2017-11-20T00:47:41.260

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"According to" is a set phrase in English to indicate where something is specified. You can't just drop the "to" and expect it to have the same meaning.

The verb to accord has a number of meanings; the only sense in which it could abut a noun phrase like that is as a transitive verb; example: "I was according the law the respect it deserves". That's unlikely to be the sense intended here.

Toby Speight

Posted 2017-11-16T04:02:57.470

Reputation: 1 176

1Surely (per your second paragraph) you mean that you can't drop a word and expect the phrase to have the same meaning, not that you can't expect it to have any meaning, right? – Kyle Strand – 2017-11-16T22:36:09.323

Good point, @Kyle - fixed. – Toby Speight – 2017-11-17T08:30:57.197

5

“According the law” is ungrammatical. Only “according to the law” is correct.

mamster

Posted 2017-11-16T04:02:57.470

Reputation: 1 056

Do some say "according of the law"? – Anixx – 2017-11-16T04:10:49.147

4Nope! You can say “in accordance with the law”, however. – mamster – 2017-11-16T05:10:23.993

Well, all you said seems to be totally the same as in Russian so far, except some uneducated people in Russia may say "according of the law" (this is still ungrammatical). – Anixx – 2017-11-16T05:16:54.850

6Well, you have to understand that Russian and English are two quite different languages. So, I wouldn't draw parallels between them. – Michael Rybkin – 2017-11-16T05:20:24.047

1We can also say "according to law". So it's not quite right to say that "only 'according to the law' is correct" - though I suppose you mean "out of these two options". – rjpond – 2017-11-16T08:03:18.293

2I'm afraid this is incorrect, as mcalex's answer has demonstrated. – Dawood ibn Kareem – 2017-11-16T08:40:48.590

1

"According to" is certainly far more common in current usage. I cannot imagine dropping the "to" except perhaps in some unusual, perhaps archaic, construction.

OED lists according as an adverb and notes that it's "usually" according to. They also list a second sense as according as.

M-W and Macmillan list according to as a preposition.

Adrian McCarthy

Posted 2017-11-16T04:02:57.470

Reputation: 210

It's quite common in Indian English, along with "refer the documentation" and "due unforeseen circumstances". – Lightness Races in Orbit – 2017-11-19T04:03:22.007

@Lightness Such variations are bound to arise in pidgin-like variants. I had a philology teacher once who was forever admonishing us not to trust critical editions of manuscripts themselves, but to “always take a look the original”. – Janus Bahs Jacquet – 2017-11-19T12:56:47.947