A recent post looked at words and phrases meaning ‘persuade’ but of course, there are other ways to make people do what we want, (and not all of them especially nice!) Let’s take a look, then, at these words and phrases.
You might try to get someone to do something or go somewhere by offering them something attractive or exciting in return. For this we have the verbs entice and lure. Adverts like these may entice the customer into buying things they don’t really want. / They try to lure people into the shop with the offer of free cake.
Similarly, if you dangle something good before or in front of someone, you offer it to them in order to persuade them to do something: I’ve dangled all kinds of offers in front of him to get him to work harder at school.
Motivate is a useful verb in this area. If a person, especially a teacher, motivates someone to work, they make them determined to do it, for example by making them interested, or by making them feel that the work is useful: Teaching is all about motivating people to learn. If you incentivize someone to work hard, you offer a reward for that hard work: Staff are incentivized by bonuses.
Meanwhile, you may prod someone who is slow to take action or seems unwilling by reminding them to do something: Jamie gets things done eventually, but only after I’ve prodded him several times.
Moving to a specific context, someone watching a sporting event may urge a competitor on, meaning that they shout or cheer to try to help them succeed: The crowd urged her on towards the finishing line.
The words bribe and blackmail are more serious. If someone bribes a person, they try to make them do something in exchange for money, presents, etc. in a way that is dishonest. There were accusations that he had bribed voters for their support. (Bribe can also be used in a less serious way, meaning simply ‘to offer someone something good so that they do what you want’: I had to bribe the children with chocolate to get them to come!) The activity of bribing is bribery. If someone blackmails a person, they force them to do something by threatening to tell other people a harmful secret about them: He claims he was blackmailed into handing over his account password.
Staying with the more negative verbs, someone who eggs another person on encourages them to do something bad: The other kids were egging him on, telling him to take the money. To goad someone into doing something bad is to annoy or upset them until they do that thing: The crowd were shouting insults, goading him into reacting. / She seemed determined to goad him into a fight. Finally, if someone incites someone to do something bad, they deliberately encourage it: There are claims that he incited the crowd to violence.