Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Help, help to

A sentence from a recent post:

[Dieter] Rams on camera is elegantly informal and always curmudgeonly — a critic of the consumer culture his designs [helped? helped to?] establish.
It’s a rare day that I don’t have a reason to open Garner’s Modern English Usage. Here’s an answer:
In most contexts, the better practice is to use a bare infinitive after help (if the choice is between a fully expressed infinitive [with to] and a bare one [without to]).
Examples follow. And finally:
The bare-infinitive form after help overtook the to-form in the late 1960s and remains more than twice as common with various verbs.
Helped to still sounds better to me. I’ll put that down to a dowdy ear. Everybody knows a turkey and some mistletoe help to make the season bright.

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