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How to Ask for Help in English


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.

Asking for Help – Top 10 Expressions in English

  • Can you give me a hand with this?

This phrase is quite a direct question to use with friends and people who you know quite well.

  • Could you help me for a second?

This one 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.

  • Can I ask a favor?

This is a general way of introducing a request for help.

  • I wonder if you could help me with this.

This phrase is polite and can be used with people you don’t know very well, or with your boss.

  • I could do with some help, please.

This one is quite direct, and the focus is that you really need help. It’s quite strong.

  • I can’t manage. Can you help?

This shows you have a big problem. You are desperate for help. you often hear this phrase when somebody has too much work to do.

  • Give me a hand with this, will you?
  • Lend me a hand with this, will you?

These phrases are similar and are direct requests for help. ‘Lend a hand’ is a little more polite and old-fashioned than ‘give me a hand’.

  • Could you spare a moment?

We use this phrase 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.

  • I need some help, please.

This 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.

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