1

In both of the groups below:

Group 1)

  • Could you dress the children?
  • Could you put on the children?

Group 2)

  • I bathed her and dressed her in her new clothes.
  • I bathed her and put her new clothes on her.

I think both the latter sentences of each group are awkward and the verb used in them (put on) does not work in this sense.

But in the group below:

Group 3)

  • I can’t bend. Could you dress me in my socks?
  • I can’t bend. Could you put my socks on me?

I think the first one is a bit odd and not natural. Do you confirm my conclusion from these all?

3

Group 1)

  • Could you dress the children?
    Correct.
  • Could you put on the children?
    Sounds like you are going to wear the children, not dress them. You could stretch that to Could you put the clothes on the children? which would clarify the meaning, but would still leave it awkward. I'd stick to the first version.

Group 2)

  • I bathed her and dressed her in her new clothes.
    Correct, if a little clumsy due to the many repeats of the word her. Might be ameliorated by using her name in the first instance, I bathed Susan and dressed her in her new clothes
  • I bathed her and put her new clothes on her.
    You're right that this one is very awkward. It's correct but just doesn't flow nicely. If you replaced the first her again with a name, that would help a bit, but the only way to remove the double her at the end would leave it sounding like you were going to try on her clothes yourself I bathed Susan and put her new clothes on. I'm not sure they'd suit you, or even fit ;-)

Group 3)

  • I can’t bend. Could you dress me in my socks?
  • I can’t bend. Could you put my socks on me?
    I'd just go for I can’t bend. Could you help me put my socks on?
    That would leave no confusion as to who was to wear the socks, nor who needed assistance; neither would it strictly request they did all the work, but that you would do the best you could whilst they assisted.
  • Thanks for being of this great help Tetsujin. Just about group #3 I need to know which one is correct; if something is wrong with the type of my question let change it in the following way: ( --- He is too ill. We have to take him to the nearest hospital as soon as possible. He can't get dresses by himself. So please dress him in some comfortable clothing. ---) OR (--- ... please put some of his comfortable clothing on him.) ==> Do these sentences mean the same? I think the second one is incorrect r at least awkward. What is your idea? ;) – A-friend Nov 9 '14 at 10:24
  • "He can't get dressed by himself" otherwise that form is fine. The second version is more awkward. A politer form, for actual interaction in that circumstance would be ..."please help him to dress in ..." which retains the dignity of the ill person, without removing the request for help; that help might be total or only partial, as dictated by the particular circumstance of the person's illness. The medical professional would see & help to the correct degree. – Tetsujin Nov 9 '14 at 10:36
  • Regarding group 3 - I'd go with my version, for the same reasoning as above. The amount of help is not specified; it retains dignity for the person asking to be seen to be at least trying to do part of the task, even if it is actually very little. – Tetsujin Nov 9 '14 at 10:38

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