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I wonder if “hinder” can be used to describe a situation where “we prevent something bad from happening”.

For example,

Put on this jacket, and it will hinder you from catching a cold”.

Does this sentence above sound awkward? Or grammatically incorrect?

2 Answers 2

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This is the wrong usage. 'Hinder' means to make it more difficult to reach a goal, and catching a cold is (presumably) not a goal.

If this were in a story where someone wanted to catch a cold, someone might say "Then don't put on a jacket, as it would hinder you catching a cold."

(Actually, I've read getting cold outside in the winter does not make catching a cold more likely, but I'm not sure I believe it, and it is a generally held belief.)

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Thank you for your answer. I have another question. Some dictionary lists an example of hinder as in “to hinder a man from commiting a crime”. In this case, committing a crime is the man’s goal so this sentence makes sense?

Wearing a mask hinders you from suffering from covid-19. This sentence doesn’t make sense, either. Right?

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  • Hindering a man [from] committing a crime is fine -- I think 'from' is commonly used, and is grammatically correct, but is not strictly necessary. "Wearing a mask hinders you from suffering from covid-19" is grammatically correct, but in fact is wrong on two other counts: it mostly protects people from the wearer, i.e., from having the wearer dispense moisture from his/her mouth and nose that might carry the virus; also, it protects against people catching the virus, not so much suffering from it. Also, suffering covid-19 is an unlikely goal; maybe that's why you thought it wrong.
    – rcook
    Jul 26, 2020 at 2:48
  • Hi Sam, If you have another question, please create another question or edit this one, rather than adding the new question as an answer.
    – JavaLatte
    Jul 26, 2020 at 4:27

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