1. Acceptable Phrases: “Help Someone Do” And “Help Someone To Do”
In the English language, there are two acceptable phrases to express assistance in completing a task: “help someone do something” and “help someone to do something.” Both forms are widely used and considered correct.
The choice to include or exclude the word “to” depends on the context and preference of the speaker.
2. More Common Form: “Help Someone Do” Without “To”
It is worth noting that the form without “to” is more commonly used in everyday speech, particularly in American English.
This casual usage may be due to the influence of colloquial language and regional variations. Therefore, if you find yourself in an informal setting or engaging in a conversation, it would be more natural to opt for the form without “to.”
3. Common Forms In Formal Writing
In formal writing, both forms, “help someone do something” and “help someone to do something,” are accepted and commonly used.
Writers have the freedom to choose the form that best suits their style and the overall tone of the text. In these cases, it is advisable to follow established grammar conventions and consider the preferences of the target audience.
4. Mistake: Combining “-Ing” Form With “Help”
One common error to be avoided when using the verb “help” is combining it with the “-ing” form.
For instance, saying “He helped me moving to London” is grammatically incorrect. Instead, the correct form would be, “He helped me (to) move to London.” This mistake often arises from confusion with other verbs that are typically followed by the “-ing” form.
5. Correct Forms: “Help Me (To) Move To London”
To clarify the correct usage, consider the example of someone helping another person relocate to London.
The appropriate phrasing would be “He helped me (to) move to London.” In this sentence, both forms, with or without the word “to,” are acceptable and convey the same meaning. However, it is worth noting that the inclusion of “to” makes the sentence slightly more emphatic.
6. Informal Phrase: “Cannot Help Doing”
In certain situations, expressing the inability to suppress the need to do something is achieved using the informal phrase “cannot help doing.” This phrase is used when an individual lacks control over their actions, often due to a strong impulse or deep-rooted habit.
It is important to use this phrase judiciously, as it is considered more informal than the previous forms discussed.
7. Examples Of “Cannot Help Doing”
They might say, “I cannot help eating chocolate cake when it’s in front of me.” Another example could be someone with a tendency to be verbose; they might say, “I cannot help talking incessantly about my favorite topics.”
8. Interchangeable Forms: “Help Do,” “Help To Do,” And “Help Doing”
To further complicate matters, all three forms – “help do,” “help to do,” and “help doing” – are correct and can be used interchangeably in many cases.
Each form, however, conveys a slightly different nuance. “Help do” is often used in informal sentences to request assistance with a specific action.
“Help to do” implies assisting with a task or offering help in completing it. On the other hand, “help doing” describes a person’s habit or repeated action.
In conclusion, when employing the verb “help,” it is crucial to consider the context, level of formality, and desired emphasis. While the form without “to” is more prevalent in everyday speech, both forms are acceptable in formal writing.
Remember to avoid combining “help” with the “-ing” form, and be aware of the nuanced differences conveyed by each form. By adapting your usage to suit the specific situation, you can confidently navigate the intricacies of this commonly used verb.