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A few times I've encountered phrases of the form "help yourself [something]", for example "help yourself some water". I consider this form to be ungrammatical, but I am not a native speaker. Is it correct to say so?

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closed as general reference by FumbleFingers, tchrist, MετάEd, aedia λ, cornbread ninja 麵包忍者 Apr 2 '13 at 16:12

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

General Reference. It's "Help yourself to some water", which should be asked on English Learners – FumbleFingers Apr 1 '13 at 12:16

1 Answer 1

up vote 3 down vote accepted

If help means assist and is followed by a verb, then that verb can appear with or without the infinitive-marker to:

He helps me understand.
He helps me to understand.

Where help means serve, to give yourself a helping, it's followed by a noun or noun phrase as the direct object and it needs the preposition to:

Help yourself to some water.

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