I cut my kid's fingernails.

When speak to the kid, "Let me help you cut your fingernails."

I help my kid to cut his fingernails.

Does it make sense? Can I use help in that way? Or I should omit the "help" just say "Let me cut your fingernails" "I cut his fingernails."

  • It depends on what idea you are trying to express. If you are helping (assisting) your kid to cut his fingernails, but he is also contributing to the action, then you would use "help". If you intend to say that the kid did not participate and you did all the work, you would not use "help". – Mark Thompson Jan 8 '15 at 10:26
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    Side comment: (In some parts of the U.S. at least) clip might be a better verb to use than cut. From Google images: clip my fingernail; cut my fingernail. – J.R. Jan 8 '15 at 10:27
  • To add to what J.R. said, trim someone's fingernail is also common, I believe. – Damkerng T. Jan 8 '15 at 18:16

This is a 'tricky' question (+1)

You can say...

Let me help cut your finger nails

though you are the one who's cutting the nails and the kid is completely inactive!

If you go by OALD definition, it says...

to make it easier or possible for somebody to do something by doing something for them or by giving them something that they need

Don't we say? I helped a poor person on the street. I gave him money. Here, he's inactive but you still help him get rid of his poverty! :)

Is it clear? Your kid needs nail cutting and you are doing that! :)


The way you said it could be grammatically correct, depending on exactly what you are trying to say. There are two things:

  1. help is the present form of the verb. If you are describing the event in the past, then the version you want is helped. This is the way people talk when telling a story. help is the present version and means that you do it all the time.
  2. to cut: it is not grammatically incorrect to say "to cut"; however, in common English you leave out the "to".

I help my kid cut his fingernails.

There is nothing wrong with the sentence; it makes sense. But, as it's in the present simple, it expresses the idea that you usually help your kid cut his fingernails when it's needed.

Let me help you cut your fingernails or let me cut your fingernails.

The first sentence is usually used when your kid is inclined to cut his fingernails at the time of speaking. On the other hand, the second sentence doesn't indicate whether he is inclined to this act at the time of speaking.

Moreover,when you help someone, the verb "help" can be followed by an infinitive with "to" or without "to".

So you can say "I help my kid ((to) cut his fingernails". "To"is optional.

  • I think you missed a question. – Maulik V Jan 8 '15 at 5:21
  • Maulik, you are right. I didn't fully read the question. – Khan Jan 8 '15 at 6:52

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