Can you edit / help me edit this essay?

Karen123456

Senior Member
Malaysia English
Can you help me edit this essay?

Can you edit this essay for me?

Which sentence should I use if I want a friend of mine to edit the essay for me?

I think it should be #2, but where I live, the first sentence is the usual one.

Thanks.
 
  • london calling

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Both are perfectly ok, dending on what you mean (will you do it together or will the person do it for you?).:) The only thing that bothers me is the choice of verb: edit (to me) is not something I would ask a friend to do (unless of course they work for a newspaper or publisher). Is your essay going to be published?
     
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    pob14

    Senior Member
    American English
    The first sentence suggests to me that you and I would sit down together and go over your essay for errors.

    The second suggests that you will give the essay to me, and I'll give it back with the errors marked.
     

    jcardha

    Member
    English (Australia)
    Either sentence can be used, but note that they have slightly different meanings. #1 suggests that you are editing the essay with your friend's help while #2 suggests that only your friend will edit the essay. Depending on how your friend interprets your request, #2 may sound a little forceful.
     

    Karen123456

    Senior Member
    Malaysia English
    Thanks to all of you for your help.

    I wrote: Which sentence should I use if I want a friend of mine to edit the essay for me?

    What I mean is that my friend will do the editing because I have already written the essay. He will make amendments in my essay.

    So I think
    "Can you edit this essay for me?" is the correct sentence. Correct me if I am wrong.

    But where I live, the common version is "
    Can you help me edit this essay?" when they mean that I will edit the essay for them and they are not involved.
     

    Karen123456

    Senior Member
    Malaysia English
    Then that is strictly-speaking incorrect and should be "Can you help me by editing this essay?".
    I believe from the replies that I should use "Can you help me by editing this essay?" or "Can you edit this essay for me?" Do both sentences mean the same thing? Thanks.
     

    london calling

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Then that is strictly-speaking incorrect and should be "Can you help me by editing this essay?".
    I disagree.;) From the OALD Learner's Dictionary (here):

    help somebody (to) do somethingThe college's aim is to help students (to) achieve their aspirations.

    PS. Re. proofread. Ed, that is what I meant in my post 2. Edit is incorrect in this context, in my opinion.;)
     

    Florentia52

    Modwoman in the attic
    English - United States
    Yes. However, we would not normally use "edit" but "proofread".
    I'm confused by this statement. "Proofread" and "edit" mean two different things, and I see no evidence that Karen12346 meant anything other than the latter. What are you seeing that would indicate that she merely wants her essay proofread?
     

    london calling

    Senior Member
    UK English
    I'm confused by this statement. "Proofread" and "edit" mean two different things, and I see no evidence that Karen12346 meant anything other than the latter. What are you seeing that would indicate that she merely wants her essay proofread?
    See my reasoning in post 2. I would ask a publisher or editor to edit something which is to be published. Therefore, I would only ask a friend to edit something if he/she were a publisher/editor.

    However, as Karen did not bother to answer my question we do not know, do we.;)
     

    DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    But where I live, the common version is "Can you help me edit this essay?" when they mean that I will edit the essay for them and they are not involved.
    I think you need to use the usual version, where you live, for what you want them to do. Otherwise your friend is going to misunderstand what it is you're asking him for.
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    I disagree.;) From the OALD Learner's Dictionary (here):
    help somebody (to) do something The college's aim is to help students (to) achieve their aspirations.
    I don't understand why you disagree, LC. The college is not achieving their students' aspirations for them, but is helping them (to) do so, meaning there is some co-operation, or a joint effort.

    Therefore "Help me (to) edit this essay" means "Let's do it together". Since Karen has confirmed she wishes her friend to do all the editing alone (no joint effort), the "help me (to) edit" form is inappropriate. At the same time, of course, the friend's favour will be a great help to her, and if she wants to make this explicit by including the words "help me", it has to be "by editing" instead of "to edit".
     

    Karen123456

    Senior Member
    Malaysia English
    See my reasoning in post 2. I would ask a publisher or editor to edit something which is to be published. Therefore, I would only ask a friend to edit something if he/she were a publisher/editor.

    However, as Karen did not bother to answer my question we do not know, do we.;)
    Both are perfectly ok, depending on what you mean (will you do it together or will the person do it for you?)
    Sorry, london calling, about missing your question. Where I live, "Can you help me edit the essay" means that the requester wants me to amend the essay for him and he will have no part in the amendment.
    As for the word 'edit', to me, anyone with a good command of English should be able to edit an essay, not necessarily someone who is an editor by profession. Am I wrong in my interpretation of 'edit'?


    • Students learn to edit their essays for grammar and punctuation. This sentence is taken from Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary,
     
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    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Can you help me edit this essay?

    Can you edit this essay for me?

    Which sentence should I use if I want a friend of mine to edit the essay for me?

    I think it should be #2, but where I live, the first sentence is the usual one.

    Thanks.
    Hi Karen

    It's interesting that you should say that the first sentence is the usual version in Malaysian English for asking someone to help by doing something. There's a previous thread here, started by an AmE-speaker who was confused by the fact that his ex-wife's family - originally from China - used "Can you help me [to] do something?" when they meant "Can you help me by doing something?": to help someone do something vs. do it for them

    The two ideas are quite distinct in US/UK English. As others have said, if you're talking to AmE/BrE-speakers and you want someone to do the job for you, you need the formulation in your sentence 2.

    EDIT:
    PS. I don't have a problem with your use of "edit":)
     
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    london calling

    Senior Member
    UK English
    I don't understand why you disagree, LC.
    I disagreed when you said Then that is strictly-speaking incorrect and should be "Can you help me by editing this essay?" in reference to Karen's sentece "Can you help me edit this essay?" , as the sentence construction is fine, but I now think we were talking at cross-purposes and are really saying the same thing.:)

    Anyway, I agree with DonnyB's comment in post 13 and Loob's post was very interesting.:)
     
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