In the sentence:

my brother helps me translate

the subject of the dependent clause surfaces as an object pronoun. In generative grammar there have been several approaches to analyzing this phenomenon.

However, there is also the "to drop" issue.

my brother helps me to translate

This second sentence seems inferior to the above one. ...at least in my dialect of American English.

My question is what is this phenomenon called so I can do some initial research into it.

  • You seem to already have the names: dependent clauses, to-drop, etc.
    – curiousdannii
    Commented May 6, 2017 at 0:20

2 Answers 2


The example is a classical linguistic question with the canonical example phrase "help him (to) write" (for an overview and more references, see, e.g., Pinson (2015)), but it is not a named subdiscipline of linguistics. You can look at it from different perspectives (e.g., historical, intra-linguistic variation, or semantics).


@jknappen is surely right in terms of studying those phenomenons in general. However, philologists of a given language often do specialize in a given class of words. In this case, you might want to look at the role of particle-verb combination (like Fraser, 1974?)

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