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    #1

    Necessity of the word "to"

    My organization is developing a mission statement and having some disagreement on the necessity of the word "to" in a specific application.

    One contingent of members believes it is acceptable to say "Enabling our members achieve success" while another group contends we must say "Enabling our members to achieve success". Is the use of the word "to" necessary? If so, is there a rule that specifies this or is it just "good english"?

    It was also suggested that we could say "Helping our members achieve success" in order to eliminate the word "to", but if this is the case, what is the difference between "helping" and "enabling" that makes this distinction?

    Please help!

  1. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Necessity of the word "to"

    "Enabling our members to achieve success" seems to be a strange phrase to me. (Are you making it possible for them to achieve success or are you helping them do so?)

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    #3

    Re: Necessity of the word "to"


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    #4

    Re: Necessity of the word "to"

    Quote Originally Posted by Tarheel View Post
    "Enabling our members to achieve success" seems to be a strange phrase to me. (Are you making it possible for them to achieve success or are you helping them do so?)
    I don't think it is incorrect to say that we are "making possible or easy" or even more accurately "giving means", both of which are definitions for enable. Empowering might also work, as would helping.

    In either case, the original question remains. Is the word "to" necessary when we use enabling? If so, why is it not necessary when we use helping?

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    #5

    Re: Necessity of the word "to"

    Enabling our members achieve success is incorrect. You need to before achieve.
    I am not a teacher.

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    #6

    Re: Necessity of the word "to"

    Except for "help" which is a causative verb, you need "to" after "enable" and "empower".
    I think the latter two words are stronger. "Empower" is the strongest and is a buzzword in business.
    I am not a teacher.

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    #7

    Re: Necessity of the word "to"

    You can, in fact, help somebody to do something. (You can also help somebody with something.)

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    #8

    Re: Necessity of the word "to"

    "Enabling our members to achieve success" is the right way to word the phrase, but it suggests that they wouldn't be able to do it unless somebody made it possible.

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    #9

    Re: Necessity of the word "to"

    Quote Originally Posted by btspartan View Post
    My organization is developing a mission statement and having some disagreement on the necessity of the word "to" in a specific application.

    One contingent of members believes it is acceptable to say "Enabling our members achieve success" while another group contends we must say "Enabling our members to achieve success". Is the use of the word "to" necessary? If so, is there a rule that specifies this or is it just "good english"?

    It was also suggested that we could say "Helping our members achieve success" in order to eliminate the word "to", but if this is the case, what is the difference between "helping" and "enabling" that makes this distinction?

    Please help!
    If you use "enable", you must put "to" before "achieve".
    If you use "help", the "to" is optional.

    In fact, "help" may be unique among all verbs for having this optional "to" property. The only other verb I can think of where "to" is optional is "dare", but only when it is intransitive:

    I don't dare to go (OK)
    I don't dare go (OK)

    but

    I dared him to go (OK)
    I dared him go (wrong)

    As for whether to use "to" after "help", I prefer omitting it unless the sentence is long and complex, in which case including the "to" may clarify its meaning.

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    #10

    Re: Necessity of the word "to"

    In fact, "help" may be unique among all verbs for having this optional "to" property. The only other verb I can think of where "to" is optional is "dare", but only when it is intransitive:
    There are other causative verbs: let, make, have, get.
    "Dare" does not come under causative verb. It is followed by a noun(pronoun), not another verb.

    "Help" is simple, common and unpretentious.
    If you can be enabled, you can also be disabled.
    "Empower" is kind of pretentious, but is trendy and stands out.
    Last edited by tedmc; 04-Mar-2016 at 06:29.
    I am not a teacher.

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