English Grammar

top tips

Hi everybody !

Could anyone help me to understand the difference between the sentences :

here are our top tips TO KEEP your girlfriend


here are our top tips FOR CHOOSING a new suit

could I say also : top tips for keeping your girlfriend ? top tips to choose a new suit ?

Thank you !


  • I'm coming on my tiptoes, Noémie, to tell you my feelings - just my own feelings, hey!
    I bet that grammatically speaking the expressions are interchangeable.
    But there is a great difference in what the top tips are to be used to.

    To keep one's girlfriend is a matter of life. If he needs a tip to keep his girlfriend, it's TO KEEP her. A strong infinitive is required for such an important issue. More to the point, it's an alternative; he will keep his girlfriend or he won't.

    Choosing a new suit is quite a mundane deed. It lets think of searches in a lot of clothes stores, something that lasts, that is going on for some time.
    That's why the top tips are fit FOR CHOOSING a suit. But they could also be fit TO CHOOSE a suit at first sight on the condition that the top tips are real tiptop tips.

    A friend of mine told me "I give you a top tip to keep your girlfriend."
    "What is it?" I replied.
    "Buy her a new gown!" he said.
    "I can't afford it." I said.
    "Then give her a tiptop tip for choosing one."
  • Joes feeling is not bad and impressively ingenious and imaginative - and quite creative - and he was not exactly off the mark.

    But, on the other hand, there is quite a simple grammar rules which tells us whehn in an advice (or forbid or recommendation) in one case the infinitive (to) is used, and in the other case the gerund.

    When we have an object of advise, that is a person -singular or plural- whom the advise (or a forbid or recommendation) is addressed to.

    In our case 'Here are our top tips TO KEEP your girlfriend ', because of 'your girlfriend' we have
    a definitive person who is advised: The boyrfiend).
    And for advises with a specific object, we use the

    The other case, 'Top tips for choosing a new suit' is a paradigm for an advice without a specific object.
    It's a general advice, not given to a specific object.
    Hence, the gerund is appropriate.
  • Dear Joe, dear Whacky,
    I am pretty impressed by your dedication to my question.
    At first sight, I was quite seduced by Joe's explanation, that matches with my general feeling of English to be a mysterious language , complex et full of subtilities .
    But actually I am relieved by Wacky's grammar rule.

    Ok, following the rule, we could contradict Joe's intuition about matters of life :

    "I am tired with all these magazines that give tips for having the perfect sex life with one's man.
    I'd rather go to a sexologist. He will give me tips to keep my husband in love. "

    What do you think ? ;-)

    Thank you both!
  • Congratulation, Noémie, for that perfect exemple of the grammar rule so clearly displayed by Whacy.
  • Dear Noémie13,

    I like your sample sentecne very much, too. And it is not only a perfect application of the grammar rule, also its meaning is wise and recommendable.

    Mind you, the grammar rule is nothing I have invented or figured out by myself, I've only read it somewhere else. I need strict rules, too, and in the course time, I hope it will becomes a second nature.


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