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help

Posted: Tue Jan 21, 2014 11:00 pm
by digitalen
Is there a slight difference in meaning between "1" and "2"?
1. Will you help me (to) do this?
2. Will you help me (in) doing this?

Re: help

Posted: Tue Jan 21, 2014 11:18 pm
by Phil White
In normal speech, the first option (with or without the "to") is usual.

You will rarely hear option 2 (with or without the "in").

I can't quite put my finger on the difference, but a different example helps a little:
  1. Can you help me fill in this form?
  2. Can you help me filling in this form?
If there is a difference, it is very subtle. I think the second option suggests that the speaker is a) already filling in the form or planning to do so shortly and b) will essentially be doing the work himself/herself.

The first option, on the other hand, does not necessarily suggest that the speaker is currently filling in the form or is about to do so (although it does not preclude that being the case). He/she may be asking for help at some time in the future. Also, there is a slight suggestion that the speaker requires a greater level of active help than in the second case, but I may be wrong about that.

Either way, the first option with the bare infinitive all the "to" infinitive will never sound wrong. The second option may well sound peculiar at times..