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    #1

    Question "help to do" vs "help doing"

    Hello everyone,

    This is my first post in this forum, so I want to introduce myself first, before I state my question.
    I am a German student, who is currently fulfilling an internship in China. I am at a vocational high school in a very rural area, what means, that many students can't exchange few sentences with me without making crucial grammar mistakes (their major problem is in the usage of the tenses).
    But on the other hand they study very hard to pass their final exams (the English exams consist to 90% out of multiple choice questions) and for that they know exactly the difference on very particular topics like "dare" or "need" and so on.

    Now to my problem:

    What is the difference between:
    1: "I help you to learn English" and
    2: "I help you learning English"?

    or
    1: "I'm looking forward to hear from you" and
    2: "I'm looking forward hearing from you"

    In my opinion both is correct, but I would instinctively use variant 1.
    But when do we use what and why? Or is even one variant wrong?
    And is my assumption correct, that "learning" and "hearing" in variant 2 are present participles? Or are they gerunds?

    I am sorry if I made any mistakes, I have to admit, that my English has been quite damaged during the past weeks. This also affected my confidence over my command. I am not sure about anything any more.

  1. Raymott's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: "help to do" vs "help doing"

    Quote Originally Posted by MrWunderbar View Post
    What is the difference between:
    1: "I help you to learn English" and
    2: "I help you learning English"?
    Neither would be spoken by a native. You want: "I'll help you to learn English." (One would expect that a student would know whether you help him/her to learn English. You could, however, say: "I help him/her/them to learn English." 2. is wrong.


    or
    1: "I'm looking forward to hear from you" and
    2: "I'm looking forward hearing from you"

    In my opinion both is correct, but I would instinctively use variant 1.
    Neither is correct. You need: I'm looking forward to hearing from you."

    But when do we use what and why? Or is even one variant even wrong? No, both are wrong.
    And is my assumption correct, that "learning" and "hearing" in variant 2 are present participles? Or are they gerunds? Er ... hmm, maybe someone else can answer that.

    I am sorry if I made any mistakes, I have to admit, that my English has been quite damaged during the past weeks. This also affected my confidence over my command. I am not sure about anything any more.
    Don't worry; I'd feel the same if I were trying to teach German in China!
    R

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    #3

    Question Re: "help to do" vs "help doing"

    Thank you for you quick response.

    But I'm sorry, it seems to me, that I chose the examples not carefully enough:
    For the first one:
    I intentionally used the present simple, in the meaning of:
    "He helps them to learn English (every day)"

    I see, that my first example with "I help you to learn English (every day)" does not make much sense, because the "I" knows that and the "you" also knows that.

    My question was more about the difference between the to-infinitive and the ing-form of the verbs.

    And why do I have to say: "I am looking forward to hearing from you"?
    Why has the verb to be in the ing-form?

  2. Mr_Ben's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: "help to do" vs "help doing"

    Quote Originally Posted by MrWunderbar View Post
    Thank you for you quick response.

    But I'm sorry, it seems to me, that I chose the examples not carefully enough:
    For the first one:
    I intentionally used the present simple, in the meaning of:
    "He helps them to learn English (every day)"

    I see, that my first example with "I help you to learn English (every day)" does not make much sense, because the "I" knows that and the "you" also knows that.

    My question was more about the difference between the to-infinitive and the ing-form of the verbs.

    And why do I have to say: "I am looking forward to hearing from you"?
    Why has the verb to be in the ing-form?
    I've got good news and bad news. The good news is that you've found the one thing that's almost as difficult as phrasal verbs. Congratulations! The bad news is that you've found the one thing that's almost as difficult as phrasal verbs.

    How do you know which to use? You can either take the principle that there are no rules, you just have to learn the pattern for each verb (which is why your teacher always instructs you to write an example sentence every tie you learn a new vocabulary item). Or you can look at the rules here, realize how impossible it is to perfectly learn a list of rules, and and just learn the pattern for each verb.

    It really is a nasty business this whole -ing or infinitive thing but you've already learned plenty of verbs' patterns without even realizing it. You probably already know that you ask or tell someone to do something and then admit or deny asking or telling them later. In your example, the rule is that "to" is a preposition, and prepositions are always followed by -ing.

    It's not all bad news though, I like your user name. Welcome to the forms.

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    #5

    Re: "help to do" vs "help doing"

    Aha, interesting... This is a very good explanation.
    My days at school seem to be more far away, than I thought.

    But now I want to make the confusion complete, because Oxford says:

    "she helped him find a buyer"

    What is this? No "to"?

    And is there any possible way to use "help" combined with a gerund?

    Thank you!

  3. 5jj's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: "help to do" vs "help doing"

    Quote Originally Posted by MrWunderbar View Post
    And is there any possible way to use "help" combined with a gerund?
    I can't help thinking there might be.

  4. charliedeut's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: "help to do" vs "help doing"

    Quote Originally Posted by MrWunderbar View Post
    Aha, interesting... This is a very good explanation.
    My days at school seem to be more far away, than I thought.

    But now I want to make the confusion complete, because Oxford says:

    "she helped him find a buyer"

    What is this? No "to"? "Help" is a verb that can be followed by an infinitive. This infintive CAN be with OR without "to", not changing the meaning of the sentence

    Thank you!
    By the way, if I may ask (or if you want to answer): why did you choose MrWunderbar and not MrWunderschön? Is there any difference between those?

    Greetings

    Charliedeut

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    #8

    Talking Re: "help to do" vs "help doing"

    Quote Originally Posted by charliedeut View Post
    By the way, if I may ask (or if you want to answer): why did you choose MrWunderbar and not MrWunderschön? Is there any difference between those?

    Greetings

    Charliedeut
    The English equivalent for "wunderschön" [adj] (can be used for things and persons) would be "gorgeous" (for things) or "handsome" (for persons), but "wunderbar" [adj] on the other hand, would be "wonderful". "wunderbar" and "wunderschön" both derive from "Wunder" [noun] what means "wonder" but also "miracle" in English. And "schön" [adj] would be "beautiful".

    I chose "Wunderbar", because in the TV-Show "The Simpsons" is one episode, where Homer chooses a new name for himself.
    When he goes to the judge, Homer gives him a list of possible new names. The judge replies: "Rembrandt Q Einstein, Hercules Rockefeller and Handsome B. Wonderful?? Of all the names you suggested I agree to the only one you have written correctly, which is Max Powers" (This is possibly not 100% correct recited)
    In the German version "Handsome B. Wonderful" was translated with "Schönling B. Wunderbar".
    This is where I took my nickname from.

    I hope this explanation helps...

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    #9

    Question Re: "help to do" vs "help doing"

    Thank you for your good responses!

    And by the way, I have another question:

    Someone wants to ask me when I will leave China:

    "When will you leave China?"
    "When are you going to leave China?"
    "When are you leaving China?"
    "When do you leave China?"

    In my opinion every question is correct:
    "will" when the asking-person has no idea.
    "going to" when the asking-person has a little idea.
    "progressive" if the asking-person has an idea, that I know the date.
    "simple present" if the asking person knows for sure, that I have already bought my ticket and the date is fix.

    Ok, I hope that this is correct, but now to my actual question:
    Am I allowed to answer a question, which has been asked in "will-future", in "going-to"?

    Example:
    "When will you leave China?"
    "I'm going to leave China next week."

    To say it more clearly: does the English language allow me to use a different tense in the answer, than the one that was used in the question?

    "When are you going to leave China?"
    "I'm not sure, I think I will leave in two months."

    I hope, that you can help me...

  5. 5jj's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: "help to do" vs "help doing"

    Quote Originally Posted by MrWunderbar View Post
    1. "When will you leave China?"
    2. "When are you going to leave China?"
    3. "When are you leaving China?"
    4. "When do you leave China?"

    In my opinion every question is correct:
    "will" when the asking-person has no idea.
    "going to" when the asking-person has a little idea.
    "progressive" if the asking-person has an idea, that I know the date.
    "simple present" if the asking person knows for sure, that I have already bought my ticket and the date is fix.
    All of the questions are correct and natural, but your assumptions about the thoughts of the person asking the question are not all necessarily correct. We can ask any of these questions regardless of whether we have some idea of the answer or not.

    There are several possibilities for each question; I have given just one:

    1. The speaker thinks that the date has been set - i.e., that it is certain.
    2. The speaker wants to know the other person's intention.
    3. The speaker thinks the arrangements for leaving have been made.
    4. The speaker is fairly certain that the leaving has been timetabled - this is close to what you suggested.

    Am I allowed to answer a question, which has been asked in "will-future", in "going-to"?

    Example:
    "When will you leave China?"......"I'm going to leave China next week."
    "When are you going to leave China?"......"I'm not sure, I think I will leave in two months."
    It's not a question of being 'allowed' - you can say what you wish to say. Both of your examples are perfectly natural.

    You may be interested in reading more on ways of expressing the future: http://www.gramorak.com/Articles/Future.pdf

    ps. It is better to open a new thread for a completely different question to avoid confusion as people respond to different questions.

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