Sunday, October 19, 2014

Fronting exercises (with a bit of subject-verb inversion)

These ten exercises are intended to give students some pretty intensive practice in fronting. They cover the more common forms of fronting, and include basic instructions on how it is done. For more detail on how they are formed and why we use fronting you could have a look at my post on 'Exploring Inversion and fronting' (link at the bottom).

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Random thoughts on assist in or assist with?

A questioner at the language forum 'Pain in the English' asked, which is correct?
  • Assists attorney in drafting documentation.
  • Assists attorney with drafting documentation.
The few people that commented seemed to agree that the first was correct, and there was one suggestion that 'assist in' is followed by a verb, whereas 'assist with' is followed by a noun.
Both in and with are prepositions, so the only verb form that can follow either of them is a gerund, which is in fact a verbal noun, and there doesn't seem to be any grammatical reason that I can think of why a gerund can't follow 'assist with', nor any reason why a standard noun can't follow 'assist in'. But perhaps there's an idiomatic one.