1. The WordReference Forums have moved to new forum software. (Details)

to help someone to do something

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Ume, Mar 22, 2006.

  1. Hello.

    1) to help someone do something
    He helped his mother do the dishes.
    2) to help someone to do something
    He helped his mother to do the dishes.

    I always use #1. Is it OK to use #2?
     
  2. drei_lengua

    drei_lengua Senior Member

    Umeboshi,
    I have never heard anyone use number 2. We use number 1.

    Drei
     
  3. grumpus Senior Member

    San Diego, CA
    English U.S.
    Hi Drei,
    I don't think the second one is impossible. It sounds o.k. to me.

    saludos,
    Grumpus
    (or are you trying to bias his/her statistics ha ha ha)
     
  4. http://dictionary.cambridge.org/define.asp?key=36652&dict=CALD
    The £10, 000 loan from the bank helped her (to) start her own business.

    Does the above mean that the following sentences mean the same?
    1) The £10, 000 loan from the bank helped her to start her own business.
    2) The £10, 000 loan from the bank helped her start her own business.
     
  5. drei_lengua

    drei_lengua Senior Member

    grumpus,
    Notice that I said "I have never heard anyone say this." ;) This does not mean that no one says it. :) Do you have examples of the second sentence that you have heard? Maybe it's a regional thing.

    Drei
     
  6. drei_lengua

    drei_lengua Senior Member

    Umeboshi,
    "Shall I help you to some more soup?" The use of "to" in this sentence is not the same because it is not part of the verb. If this were part of the verb then the definition heading would be "help to" or "help (to)" rather than the actual definition heading of "help". The use of "to" in your business sentence above is part of a verb "to do" which is the infinitive.

    I hope this helps.

    Drei
     
  7. Thanks for the comments. Is anybody able to to answer the following question?
    --------------
    http://dictionary.cambridge.org/defi...6652&dict=CALD
    Do the following sentences mean the same?
    1) The £10, 000 loan from the bank helped her to start her own business.
    2) The £10, 000 loan from the bank helped her start her own business.
     
  8. secondson New Member

    English, USA
    Hi
    those two sentences do not exactly mean the same thing but they are pretty close, the first places an emphasis on achieving the ablility to start a business whereas #2 emphasizes starting the actual business.
    I'm in the US, so brt english might be different
    S.S
     
  9. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    A BE view:

    I would normally use the version with to, especially in speech, but either would be OK.

    I see no difference between the sentences - but that's not to deny secondson's view, especially taking into account the AE/BE difference.
     
  10. mateitop

    mateitop Senior Member

    UK, English
    Hello
    To help to do - to me implies helping them (because they are not as adept as you)
    To help do - to me implies that they may know very well how to do it, but they need a second pair of hands (e.g. because there's lots of work)
    Mp
     
  11. Thank you for the comments.
     
  12. JungKim Senior Member

    Korean
    What do you think about these?

    Are both possible, correct English?

    (3) He helped his mother do the dishes, but she didn't.


    (4) He helped his mother to do the dishes, but she didn't.

     
  13. lucas-sp Senior Member

    English - Californian
    If he helped his mother (to) do the dishes, then his mother did the dishes. So neither sentence makes sense. (This is because "she" refers to "his mother" in both of the sentences.)

    In my everyday speech, the first clauses of both of these sentences are equally acceptable. I would probably choose 3 over 4, though - because I'm American and casual in general.
     
  14. Cagey post mod

    California
    English - US
    They both seem fine to me, but I am more likely to use #3 than #4.
     
  15. JungKim Senior Member

    Korean
    If he helped his mother do the dishes, she actually did the dishes, to which I have no objection.

    But if he helped his mother to do the dishes, could the verb phrase "do the dishes" not have been actualized in some context?
     
  16. lucas-sp Senior Member

    English - Californian
    If he helped his mother to do the dishes, then she did the dishes.

    The parentheses mean that the sentence works either with the word in parentheses or without the word in parentheses.
     
  17. Cagey post mod

    California
    English - US
    (I assumed that 'she' in 'but she didn't' was a different person, not his mother. If 'she' was his mother, I have difficulty making sense of the sentences as written.)
     
  18. velisarius Senior Member

    Greece
    British English (Sussex)
    I don't understand the question, but for me "do the dishes" and "to do the dishes" in these sentences have the same meaning.
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2012
  19. JungKim Senior Member

    Korean
    Let me provide some hypothetical context here.

    Let's say, in (3) and (4), his mother ran out of dish detergent and asked him to buy one on his way home, which he did, thereby "helping his mother to do the dishes". But since he only came home late at night, she didn't do the dishes that night.

    In describing this hypothetical situation in a nutshell, can you say (3) or (4)?
     
  20. lucas-sp Senior Member

    English - Californian
    No. If his mother didn't do the dishes, then he didn't "help her (to) do the dishes." That sentence makes it pretty clear that his mother actually did do the dishes. He might have "tried to help his mother (to) do the dishes," but that would be a different sentence.
     
  21. redgiant Senior Member

    Cantonese, Hong Kong
    Hi,
    Suppose someone was caught in a storm and took shelter in an empty tattered barn. There was a towel hanging on the wall over the toilet. He helped himself to it, drying his rain-soaked hair.

    Is it a correct context in which "help himself to it" could take on the second meaning? Does it work to convey inappropriateness? I'm trying to say he took the liberty of using the towel, even though nobody else was around.
     
  22. lucas-sp Senior Member

    English - Californian
    Really, definition 2 is just a jokey or semi-ironic use of definition 1. If someone is taking something and you don't mind, you'll say "Help yourself!" in a cheerful way. If someone is taking something and you do mind, you'll say "Help yourself!" in a sarcastic way.

    I don't get much of a sense of inappropriateness from your question. If there's a towel in an abandoned barn, I don't see any problem with using it, if you need it. So the verb "helped himself" doesn't feel jarring or condemnatory. It does imply that he went right ahead and used the towel without thinking about other people who might need it, but the situation makes that seem like a very minor offense.

    That being said, your sentences are perfectly written (except perhaps for the word "tattered," but that could be poetic).
     

Share This Page