1

Which sentence is correct and why?

It will help me to prepare for the exam.

It will help me preparing for the exam.

1

The first sentence is correct:

It will help me to prepare for the exam.

The verb help takes either a to-infinitive (to prepare) or a bare infinitive (prepare):

It will help me prepare for the exam.

As Peter said, preparing is a gerund: this word works like a noun. The verb help doesn't take nouns directly, so we need to use some preposition:

Please help me with my homework.
This will help me with my homework.
This will help me in making my homework.
This will help me in preparing for the exam.

There are verbs that take nouns and gerunds directly:

I will try preparing for the exam.
I will try this apple pie.

See? The difference between "(to) prepare" and "preparing" is that the first is a verb and the second is an ing form that works like a gerund (almost like a noun) or a present participle. The verb help does not take the ing forms directly (without some preposition like in, with, etc.) That's why your second sentence looks strange, although the meaning of it is easy to understand.

1

You first sentence

1) It will help me to prepare for the exam.

is correct grammatically

In your second sentence

2) It will help me preparing for the exam.

is incorrect.

Preparing is used as a gerund and you would need to add

3) It will help me in preparing for the exam.
4) It will help me while preparing for the exam.

or

5) It will help me prepare for the exam.

  • So, if my exam is next week I should use first sentence, right ? I don't exactly understand your explanation about second one. – Yeynno Feb 4 '16 at 9:53
  • 1
    "Future tense" is not relevant to the question: the answer would have been identical if it had been in another tense, eg "It always helps me to prepare/*preparing for the exam". – Colin Fine Feb 4 '16 at 11:25
  • @Yeynno For your exam next week, you can use any of the sentences except \#2 which is grammatically incorrect. – Peter Feb 4 '16 at 12:12

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