Use of "lend oneself to"


Could you check my use of the idiom “lend itselt to”?

  1. The plan you’ve devised does not lend itself to solving our predicament.
  2. The plan you’ve devised does not lend itself to our predicament.


It makes sense, but I don’t care much for it here. It would simpler to say “The plan you’ve devised cannot solve our predicament.” Your second one feels off because a predicament is not an act. Usually, something lends itself to a characteristic or an act.

Thank you Mordant,

Do you think the following sentence would work:

The jacket you’re wearing does not lend itself to the weather.

That sounds awkward to me as well. I would actually say your original second sentence sounds more like “lends itself to problems,” which means it could create them. “Solving” would be absolutely necessary.

I think I see your point.

In my sentence, the (cold) weather is the problem, so I rewrote it this way:

The jacket you’re wearing does not lend itself to surviving in cold weather.

Do you think this sentence fits the bill?

I think it’s much better. Yes.

Thank you for your patience!


Your sentence:


sounds distinctly odd to me. It’s like giving qualities of adaptability to a jacket and that surely can’t be right. A jacket is a static thing and doesn’t actually function or a adapt as a machine would. I would express this more simply as:

The jacket you’re wearing isn’t suitable for (someone) surviving (survival) in cold weather.


Hello Alan,

So, another condition is that the object that lends itself must be adaptible, and not static, right?
In light of this, can we say the following:

On election day, the school building lent itself to being used as a polling station.

Tort, I don’t like that one. The context seems slightly off. It’s not as if a building would be suitable for such a use only on that day and cease to be so. It’s qualities will not change and likely did not develop on that day. Your sentence sounds as if that were possible.

This doesn’t bother me as much:

This building lends itself to use as a polling station.
The building lent itself to use as a polling station on election day.

Hello Mordant,

Many thanks for your suggestion.
I take it the word “use” is used as a noun in your samples, right?

Yes, Tort.