help somebody do/to do something

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Kirimaru, Sep 6, 2008.

  1. Kirimaru Senior Member


    1.She helps me do my homework.
    2.She helps me to do my homework.

    Both ways are grammatically correct, right ?

    I'd like to ask about their meanings. Is there any difference between them or they are semantically the same ?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. chat9998 Senior Member

    English, US
    Hi Kirimaru,

    Yes, as far as I know, they mean exactly the same thing.
  3. cycloneviv

    cycloneviv Senior Member

    Perth, Western Australia
    English - Australia
  4. Kirimaru Senior Member

    Many thanks.

    I'll try three links above. I am so sorry for mentioning again this matter, cycloneviv :(
  5. Skin Senior Member

    Hello everybody!
    I don’t think that they’re always exactly equivalent. Help + bare infinitive is used when the person who helps takes part in the action of helping. “She helped me clean the house” means that we cleaned the house together. In these cases “to” can always be inserted.
    But let’s take the following sentence: “The President gave a speech that helped me to understand the origin of the troubles”. In this instance the help is more general, it has the sense of broadening the mind: the speech didn’t literally participate in the effort of understanding. When this is the meaning of “help”, I feel that omitting the “to” would result in awkwardness.
    Do you agree with me on that?
  6. gurseal Senior Member

    USA Southeast
    English - USA
    No. I do not see the problem either with She helped me to clean the house or with The President gave a speech that helped me understand the origin of the troubles. Besides, the two statements are not parallel. And, her helping me clean the house does not have to be physical. It may be inspirational.

    I do, however, prefer not to use "to" because it is acceptable and convenient.
  7. Skin Senior Member

    Thank you, Gurseal!
  8. Ever Mercy New Member

    I think all of the ideas above are convincing enough. However, is there really no exact rule to distinguish the difference? I go to school and my teacher told me almost exactly the same as Skin. But in my own perspective, I do think of something a little more different to share here. Let's compare these two sentences:
    - He helps me do my homework.
    - He helps me to do my homework.
    To what I feel is that, if sb helps you do sth, he physically helps you either with you or him alone. So, "he helps me do my homework" means he does it for me since I can't really do it.
    When sb helps you to do sth, he simply tell you how to do it. Therefore, "he helps me to do my homework" means he helps me to have enough ability to do what I don't understand. He may show me the clues or any techniques to discern the homework and only then can I do it myself. With the interference of "to", the sentence make the subject physically uninvolved in the actual object.
    However, I don't know whether my idea can be generally applied or not!
  9. minederien Senior Member

    Hi everyone
    I just received an email where I read "I can help you to solve your problem"
    It still sounds odd to me.
    Are you natives sure it's grammatically correct ?
    Thank you for your unfailing help
  10. velisarius Senior Member

    British English (Sussex)
    See post #3 for other discussions of this question. I see no difference, and could happily use either. In formal writing I would include "to".

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