afford <> to afford <> affording


Senior Member
from an Arthritis magazine:

However, there are many resources available to help people without insurance afford their medication. For people who are eligible for Medicare, the Medicare Part D Low income Subsidy helps those with low incomes and assets afford their prescription drugs.

Why is not "to afford" or "affording" in the above sentence?
Is "to" optional?
Can't this should be infinitive as "to afford" or gerund as "affording"?

  • EStjarn

    Senior Member
    It seems the infinitive marker 'to' is optional here (cf. Longman). I'd say leaving it out is to do with style; 'to help to afford' (i.e., with two 'to') is a bit clumsy compared with 'to help afford'.

    I find it a little trickier to explain why 'affording' isn't used. To say it's ungrammatical seems too simple an answer. I think the reason is that 'affording' would produce a different meaning. Since 'affording' refers to a process, something on-going, using it would imply that people could already afford their medication (and would therefore not need any help).


    Senior Member
    English UK
    We can say either "help someone afford" or "help someone to afford", Bigtime. (There are lots of previous threads here on help/help to).

    What we wouldn't say is "help someone affording":(.


    Senior Member
    I was reasoning, for a while, that we couldn't use 'affording' because of the direct object. Now I'm not so sure that's incorrect. If we take a simpler example:

    I need help making muffins. OK
    You can help me making muffins. I believe this is, at best, non-standard.

    So perhaps it does have a grammatical explanation, after all.
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