Like it will help straighten your hair OR it will help straightening your hair

Which is correct?


  • It depends whether you mean "it will help (to) straighten your hair" (i.e. "to make your hair more straight") or "it will help (the process of) straightening your hair". Most likely it means the first. – WS2 Apr 16 '18 at 6:56
  • Thank! It's just that I came across with a post earlier, and someone there said that helps need to be followed by an "ing" verb, so I was a bit confused. – user150466 Apr 16 '18 at 10:05

The first one:

It will help (to) straighten your hair.

The to is optional, although, as WS2 points out, if to is included, then two meanings are possible: 1. it will contribute to your hair becoming more straight (which is the only meaning if to is omitted), or 2. it will help matters if you straighten your hair.

Answers to this sort of question, at least as far as what kind of complement is acceptable, can be found by looking at lists of catenative verbs, e.g. this one.

  • The problem is that if you include the "to" it then introduces another possibility - "it will help (matters) to straighten your hair". e.g. it may help your disguise. – WS2 Apr 16 '18 at 6:59
  • Thank you for the comment; I have included this in the answer. – linguisticturn Apr 16 '18 at 11:29

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