I often come across sentences such as, "Our program assists, at no cost, students maintain independent living..." I believe it should be written as, "Our program assists, at no cost, students to maintain independent living..." Input? This isn't a question about the word "help" - this is specifically about the word "assist."

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    Welcome to EL&U. Where do you come across such sentences? Can you link to an example? It could well be a typo. Please take the site tour and review the help center for additional guidance on writing good, answerable questions. – choster Mar 5 '16 at 0:19
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    I don't recall ever having seen "assists X maintain" as an alternative to "assists X to maintain" or "assists X in [or with] maintaining." The situation is quite different in the case of "helps X maintain" versus "helps X to maintain" or "helps X in [or with] maintaining," where I've seen all of the forms used. – Sven Yargs Mar 5 '16 at 0:26
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    Setting aside "assists" for "helps", either construction is fine. "Our program helps students maintain..." is as good as "Our program helps students to maintain...". – MetaEd Mar 5 '16 at 0:29
  • I read many grant applications and white papers in which sentences like the one described pop up. The decision not to insert the word, "to" is intentional - I've asked the authors. Most of the people I encounter who write that way are originally from the US East Coast. I wonder if it's a regional construction. "Assists" seems to be one of the key words. I agree that "helps" in place of "assists" would be a completely acceptable phrasing. I'm just totally bugged by "assists" without "to". – Stella Mar 5 '16 at 0:30
  • See also John Lawler's answer at: english.stackexchange.com/questions/75923/… – MetaEd Mar 5 '16 at 0:33

Every example you give is mangled. What you're trying to say, I think, should be said thusly: "Our program assists students in maintaining independent living, at no cost" or "Our free program assists students in maintaining independent living."

Truthfully, it still sounds weird; I would probably re-write the whole thing if I had more of the surrounding text for context. Hope this helps.

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  • Agreed! My inquiry is more about finding out if I've got a good argument to put forth to the writers who believe "assist SB do" is perfectly fine. Thx! – Stella Mar 5 '16 at 1:44

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