Results 1 to 3 of 3
  1. #1
    jessephine is offline Newbie
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Posts
    1
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default The usage of helpful in and helpful to.

    I've been told that(by my classmate) It's helpful to improve their skills is wrong,so is it correct to replace this sentence by It's helpful in improving their skills?
    When and where to use these two phases?And how to differentiate them?
    Please give some examples to explain it.
    Last edited by jessephine; 14-Nov-2010 at 12:05.

  2. #2
    abaka is offline Senior Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Canada
      • Current Location:
      • Canada
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    919
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: The usage of helpful in and helpful to.

    It's all a question of idiom.

    "Is helpful to doing something" is not good idiom. "Helpful in doing something" is a little better; better yet is "helpful for"; but best of all, why not just say "helps"?

    X "This is helpful to running." Poor.

    V "This is helpful to him" (a person doing something, not the abstract action). Good.

    -- "This is helpful in running". Passable, but a little odd.

    V "This is helpful for running". Acceptable.

    V "This helps him". Good English!

    V "This helps him run". Good!

    V "This helps his running". Good!

    X "This helps running". Not so great.

    V "This helps in running."

    V "This helps to run". Good!

    I'm not going to attempt an explanation of why some of these phrases sound better than others, but they just do.

  3. #3
    bhaisahab's Avatar
    bhaisahab is online now Moderator
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Retired English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • England
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    22,327
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: The usage of helpful in and helpful to.

    Quote Originally Posted by jessephine View Post
    I've been told(by my classmate) that It's helpful to improve their skills is wrong,so is it correct to replace this sentence by It's helpful in improving their skills?
    When and where to use these two phases?And how to differentiate them?
    Please give some examples to explain it.
    "It's helpful to improve their skills" is a correct sentence. It means that the act of improving their skills is helpful.
    It would be helpful to improve the skills of a workforce if you want to raise the quality of their output, for example.
    "It's helpful in improving their skills" is also a correct sentence. It refers to something, a method, that is helpful towards improving their skills.
    If we take the workforce in my first sentence as an example, the method that you use to improve their skills and thus raise the quality of their output is helpful.
    Last edited by bhaisahab; 12-Nov-2010 at 17:51. Reason: afterthought

Similar Threads

  1. If you say itís helpful,,,
    By flytothesky in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 20-Dec-2008, 09:31
  2. [Grammar] helpful
    By thedaffodils in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 11-Sep-2008, 13:43
  3. what is the difference help / helpful
    By knowwhat in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 16-Aug-2008, 15:28
  4. helpful to/ for sb
    By joham in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 13-Apr-2008, 20:09
  5. Helpful Hannah
    By beeja in forum English Idioms and Sayings
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 18-Mar-2005, 05:22

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •