I'm a student from south Korea. I'm learning English at school. Today, I took an English test at school. I've learned about

'It is ~ for ~ to ~'

sentence in school. And I marked

'It is not difficult helping others'

sentence to 'X' (wrong). But, my teacher changed the answer to 'O' (right). Is this sentence correct?

  • Can you explain what X and O mean? – Catija Dec 17 '18 at 6:05
  • I changed the formatting a little bit to make your question and context clearer (as we often request context). You can edit your post if you disagree or want to make more improvements. In English speaking regions, we use the check mark (✓) to mark something as correct. See Details, Please and the Contributor's Guide (Asking) for more tips and examples. – Em. Dec 17 '18 at 6:15
  • Could you indicate why you thought or think that "It is not difficult helping others" is wrong, please? – David Siegel Sep 24 '19 at 18:08

Not really.

To me, I'd prefer this:

  • It is not difficult to help others. (Similar to what you had learned)

Simply put, difficult here is an adjective that can be followed by a to-infinitive. In this case, you can only use the ing-verb if difficult is written in its noun form, difficulty.

  • There's no difficulty helping others.

  • There's no difficulty in helping others.

Use wisely!


The sentence is equal to:

Helping others is not difficult.

If you want to use the preposition
for you may say:

It is not difficult for you or anybody to help others

  • I could not figure out why not all gerund phrases don't work: It is not difficult helping others, does work. I invented a bunch of them and tried to substitute them and failed. Like this: acting silly is fun. It is fun acting silly. That one happens to work. – Lambie Sep 24 '19 at 20:17

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