I saw the following sentence on this page: https://www.inc.com/video/minda-zetlin/4-habits-that-helped-make-warren-buffett-a-billionaire.html

4 Habits That Helped Make Warren Buffett a Billionaire

Is helped make a form of subjunctive or it is modal? I am confused by the form help + infinitive make. Why it is not made?

Based on what I read, a subjunctive is used in not necessarily factual information. So I am confused because the sentence feels like Warren Buffett is already a billionaire. Why is it not made?

Thanks for any help.

  • No, it's not a subjunctive. What makes you think it's a subjunctive? Sorry, your explanation is unclear. – user178049 Aug 7 '17 at 6:48
  • @user178049, I am confused by the form help + infinitive make. Why it is not made? – user1764381 Aug 7 '17 at 7:17
  • The verb help is special :) – user178049 Aug 7 '17 at 7:38
  • 1
    No, it's not subjunctive. "Help" is catenative verb and the subordinate infinitival clause "make Warren Buffett a billionaire" is catenative complement of "help". "Help" is one of a few verbs that can take bare infinitivals like "make" or to infinitivals like "to make" – BillJ Aug 7 '17 at 9:15

Verbs can have infinitive phrases as their objects. For example "I decided to go home" or "I learned to play piano". Other verbs use a bare infinitive (without to) particularly the modal verbs: "I can go home"

The verb "help" is unusual in that it can take either a bare infinitive or a to infinitive. "Please help clean the room" and "Please help to clean the room" are both correct (and mean the same). "Help" isn't a modal verb, but it can take a bare infinitive. The verb "help" cannot be followed by a past tense. In English, only the main verb has tense. "...helped made..." is not English grammar.

The subjunctive has the same form of as the bare infinitive as do the imperative, and the simple present (except 3rd person singular). We do not consider the subjunctive to be the infinitive since it does not form a noun phrase.

  • Thanks @James, is it right to call help make periphrastic? – user1764381 Aug 7 '17 at 9:49
  • Not really, periphrastic is (for example) perfect tense "Have done" The word "have" only has a grammatical function. "Help do" is just a combination of verb and object. It doesn't form a tense or mood of the verb. Both words are have meaning, they are not just acting grammatically. – James K Aug 7 '17 at 14:05

The correct structure is help (to) do with the possibility of omitting the to-infinitive - using a bare infinitive. You can say that in the past and future by changing the main verb help - helped (to) do and will help (to) do.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.