Submitted by ec on June 22, 2005

Assist in or assist with

Which is correct? (Intentional use of telegraphic style) Assists attorney in drafting documentation. Assists attorney with drafting documentation.



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I agree but would like to be more specific.
"assists in" is followed by a verb.
"assists with" is followed by a noun.
It just so happens that drafting can be a verb or a noun, so both sentences make sense if only slightly different in meaning.

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Both sentences are valid, but mean different things:

1. "in" - drafting means creating
2. "with" - drafting is a type of documentation, just as logging documentation or cooking documentation would be.

And 2 isn't well phrased even if that were the desired meaning. Which it presumably wasn't.

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The first is correct. The second case would be correct if rearranged:

Assists attorney with documentation drafting.

My reasoning is that in the first case, the person assists the attorney in drafting the documentation. "The" is understood to have been excluded in what you refer to as telegraphic style, or "the" can be dispensed with on the grounds that "documentation" is a thing. It's a noun. So it's correct to say the person assists, assists who? the lawyer, in what activity? drafting, drafting what? documentation.

In the second case, the person assists the attorney. With what? Here is where it doesn't work. "With what?" has to be answered with an activity. Drafting, by itself, would be ok. But "drafting" could mean many things. So we modify the name of the activity to say "documention drafting."

I'm sure there could be a more technical explanation, but I am fairly confident that I am right.

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Which sentence is the correct one :
- Assists with coordinating the credit control,
- Assisting with coordinating ...

Maybe you have better solution ?


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@Elena Dolnova - the grammatical functions are different:

Assists with ... is a verb and needs a subject - She assists / I assist with coordinating credit control (better without "the")

Assisting with ... is a Noun phrase - "My job involves assisting with the coordination of ... (it's better to avoid having two -ing forms together)

If it's for something like a CV, which you use would depend on the rest of the paragraph; you could use all verbs, or all gerunds (-ing forms) and nouns.

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