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Saw these examples: They were accused of aiding his escape. They were accused of aiding him in his escape.

http://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/definition/american_english/aid_2

Is there any difference between these sentences and If there is how do I use aid and aid in properly?

Thank you

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The difference between "aid" and "aid in" is one of specificity. In the example you give, this difference is not apparent because the object of "aid" changed from "him" to "his escape."

However take the following examples:

  • The doctor aided the terrorists who bombed the market.
  • The doctor aided the terrorists in their bombing of the market.

In the first case, we don't know how or when the doctor aided the terrorists, or even if she knew they were terrorists. Maybe she simply followed the Hippocratic Oath and patched up their burns after the bombing. We are only told that she generally aided them somehow; we would typically assume she aided them in her capacity as a doctor, but the meaning is not overtly so restricted, and we'd have to rely on external context.

However in the second case, by using the preposition "in", we are able to specify to some degree how the doctor aided the terrorists. We can rule out the Hippocratic Oath in that case.

| improve this answer | |
  • And what about this sentence: Gentle exercise aids the circulation of blood around the body. Can I say: "Gentle exercise aids IN the circulation of blood around the body."? – Siless Dec 13 '15 at 22:06
  • Such terminology can be closely monitored by various consumer authorities, so that claims are not too strong (or are at least conditional). In your sample, "exercise aids circulation" indicates a stronger, and more direct effect than the more circumspect "exercise aids in circulation". However there is not a lot of difference between them. – Cargill Dec 13 '15 at 22:20
  • Well I think the proper use of the preposition here is not just to tack it onto the word "aid" without other modifications. The best way to deploy "in" with "aid" is to use the form, { subject aided object in participle } — like "I aided my father in changing the oil on the truck." It seems rather pointless to add "in" to the sentence if that's all you're doing, like "exercise aids in circulation". The best way to deploy "in" into that kind of sentence would be to use it to add specificity, like: "exercise aids middle-aged men in improving circulation." – CommaToast Dec 14 '15 at 1:12

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