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    #1

    help get

    Hi,

    Here is a sentence that I don't quite understand:

    Climbers can strap sharp nails on to help get a foothold on a slippery slope.

    I wonder if I need to change "help get" to "help getting" and why?


    Thanks a lot

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    #2

    Re: help get

    Great question!

    To 'get a foothold on something' is a locked phrase, and there are many of these in English. Your first instinct to keep the original phrasing is correct. If you were to change it to 'help getting', then either you'd have to include the missing preposition 'in' so it becomes 'help in getting something' acting as a phrasal verb, or if not, then 'help' becomes a noun at the end of one clause and 'getting' becomes a noun (in gerund form) at the start of a dependent clause. Here's an example: I got some help getting the car. Let's parse this: [I got some help] [getting the car]. Your example, parsed: [Climbers can strap sharp nails on] [to help get a foothold on a slippery slope].

    I would also recommend not ending the first clause with the preposition 'on' to avoid structural awkwardness, and change it to 'Climbers can strap on sharp nails', thereby keeping the preposition closer to the main verb.

    Hope this helps!!

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    #3

    Re: help get

    Quote Originally Posted by Silverobama View Post
    Hi,

    Here is a sentence that I don't quite understand:

    Climbers can strap sharp nails onto their shoes to help themselves get a foothold on a slippery slope.

    I wonder if I need to change "help get" to "help getting" and why? No you can't do that. Do you see why?


    Thanks a lot
    2006

  1. 5jj's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: help get

    Quote Originally Posted by Silverobama View Post
    I wouldn't worry about the position of 'on'; it's fine where you have it.

    These are possible:

    Climbers can strap sharp nails on to help (them) get a foothold on a slippery slope.
    Climbers can strap sharp nails on to help (them) to get a foothold on a slippery slope.
    Climbers can strap sharp nails on to help (them) in getting a foothold on a slippery slope.
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    #5

    Re: help get

    Climbers can strap sharp nails onto their shoes to help themselves get a foothold on a slippery slope.
    Thanks a lot, 2006.

    Do I need to change the "on" after nails to "onto" in my original sentence?

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    #6

    Re: help get

    Quote Originally Posted by Silverobama View Post
    Thanks a lot, 2006.

    Do I need to change the "on" after nails to "onto" in my original sentence?
    Climbers can strap sharp nails on their shoes to help...
    Climbers can strap sharp nails on to their shoes to help...
    Climbers can strap sharp nails onto their shoes to help...
    Climbers can strap sharp nails on
    to to help...

    All fine.

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    #7

    Re: help get

    Quote Originally Posted by Silverobama View Post
    Thanks a lot, 2006.

    Do I need to change the "on" after nails to "onto" in my original sentence?
    No, you don't have to do that. When I revised your sentence, I chose to use "onto", but "on" is okay too.

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