Useful Expressions > Advanced
Asking for help
We all need help sometimes. In English, it is not polite to ask directly. So there are many phrases that we can say before a request to 'soften' it. Here are ten such phrases.
Ten Expressions to Use In Speaking And Writing
- Can you give me a hand with this?
- Could you help me for a second?
- Can I ask a favour?
- I wonder if you could help me with this?
- I could do with some help, please.
- I can't manage. Can you help?
- Give me a hand with this, will you?
- Lend me a hand with this, will you?
- Could you spare a moment?
- I need some help, please.
How To Use These Phrases In Your English
- Phrase 1 is quite a direct question to use with friends and people who you know quite well.
- Phrase 2 is more polite. We include the words 'for a second' to show that we don't need a lot of help and that it will not be difficult.
- Phrase 3 is a general way of introducing a request for help.
- Phrase 4 is polite and can be used with people you don't know very well, or with your boss.
- Phrase 5 is quite direct, and the focus is that you really need help. It's quite strong.
- Phrase 6 shows you have a big problem. You are desperate for help. you often hear this phrase when somebody has too much work to do.
- Phrases 7 and 8 are similar and are direct requests for help. 'Lend a hand' is a little more polite and old-fashioned than 'give me a hand.'
- We use phrase 9 to show that we respect that the other person is really quite busy and to say that they will only need to help you for a short time.
- Phrase 10 is a direct question and the asker does not expect the listener to say no. This is often used by people in authority e.g. bosses.