A person incurs inchoate criminal liability when he incites another person or other persons to commit a crime. The most salient characteristic of incitement, in comparison with the other forms of inchoate crime, is the existence of a communication that is made with a view to persuading the addressee(s) to commit an offence. This article explores the question of why incitement should incur criminal liability, and the nature of such liability. It also identifies its distinctive features. The principal focus here is on ambiguity in the putative words of incitement and on questions of gauging whether the words have had any effect on the actions of the addressee(s). It covers both the standard criminal offences and conduct which, arguably, should not be regulated by the criminal law, thereby raising issues of freedom of speech. Legal issues are set in the context of the common law generally, while drawing (for the most part) on English law in matters of detail.