help me to move vs help me move

English grammar and usage issues

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help me to move vs help me move

Unread postby sugarpushes » 24 Jul 2012, 07:26

I'm not sure how to even ask this question and what the question really is, whether it deals with the to infinitive or the main verb, etc.

Question:

Why in the sentence "Do you want me to move?" do you have to say TO move
vs in the sentence "Can you help me move?" do you not need TO?

When you look at the the sentence structure, they are both questions, both followed by me after the main verb, but one takes TO infinitive and the other doesn't.

All acceptable, but why?:
"Do you want me to help?"
"Do you want me to move?"
"Do you want me to call you?"

"Can you help me cook?" vs "Can you help me TO cook this?"
"Can you help me push this?"
"Can you help me TO care for this child?"

Students want to know why you use TO in some cases but not others, especially between the "Do you..." questions vs the "Can you..."

Please help me TO solve this!!
Thanks in advance,
NK
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Re: help me to move vs help me move

Unread postby Elissa » 30 Jul 2012, 08:48

It depends on what the matrix verb is; most verbs have their own set of rules.

There's some good information here: http://www-personal.umich.edu/~jlawler/aue/complmnt.html, but it's quite complex and I wouldn't use it in my classes! It would be nice if there was a better rule for this, though...
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