I am going to help you.

What is the grammatical function of to help you here?

Reopen note

Please note that I did not ask about going to (and that the to belongs with the following verb as shown above, not with going). The question is about the grammatical relations of to help you, not about going.

  • "Be going to" + verb is a form of future. So your sentence is S + Verb in the future + Object.
    – fev
    Commented Jun 29, 2023 at 12:06
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    The text is ambiguous! It might mean The reason I'm leaving is in order to help you. Or it might mean I will help you. Commented Jun 29, 2023 at 14:49
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    @Mari-LouA I have edited the reopen note. However, it's clear that OP understands that the to is part of the phrase to help you, because that's what they wrote! (And they certainly were'n't asking about going to! ;-) Commented Jun 29, 2023 at 15:41
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    @Araucaria-Nothereanymore. Right. And, the OP asked what the grammatical function of the infinitival clause is, not what its semantic interpretation is. In our parlance, its function is that of catenative complement.
    – BillJ
    Commented Jun 29, 2023 at 16:25
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    Does this answer your question? Is "am going" a verb phrase? 'Be going to' is usually described as the cohesive unit (often called a 'periphrastic semi-modal' and 'to' judged not to be as closely attached to the infinitive. So this is then akin to asking 'What is the function of 'well on the road' in 'There is an ink well on the road'. See, for instance, Nordquist. These have been dealt with before on ELU. Commented Jun 30, 2023 at 14:37

1 Answer 1


I am going [to help you].

The term 'function' is a grammatical one.

Grammatically, "going" is a catenative verb here, and the infinitival clause "to help you" is functioning as its catenative complement.

Note: some people seem to be claiming that "be going to" is an auxiliary verb, or at least is becoming one. It isn't. 'Auxiliary verb’ must be defined in grammatical terms, not in semantic terms. Thus auxiliary verbs are verbs with the NICE properties, which "be going to" obviously does not possess.

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