Instead of asking how can I help

Lesson SummaryGet help from native English speakers by downloading the HiNative app AND help other people who are learning your native language!Download the HiNative app here:iOS:

Instead of asking how can I help

Lesson Summary

Get help from native English speakers by downloading the HiNative app AND help other people who are learning your native language!
Download the HiNative app here:
iOS: https://goo.gl/RKe5dG
Android: https://goo.gl/MzynE5

This lesson is full of English expressions used when asking for help in English! Including:
Modal verbs used when asking for help
(to) give/lend (someone) a hand
(to) help (someone) out
(to) do (someone) a favour
I could use some help

CLICK HERE to read the full lesson transcript.

Video Transcript
Section 1

Hello I'm Emma from mmmEnglish!Are you here for some help with your English?Probably.Well, you're in the right place!You just need to askand there are somany different ways to ask for help in English.

In this lesson,I'm going to share some common expressionsand collocations to help youconfidently ask for help in English.I'll be talking about whichmodal verbs you can use when asking for helpand I'll also sharesome really common expressions with you.Like:

  • To give/lend someone a hand
  • To help someone out
  • To do someone a favour
  • I could use some help.

All of these expressions will be usefulwhen asking for help from an native English speaker.Speaking of helping someone out,have you heard of the HiNative app?By using it you can get helpfrom native English speakers andhelp other people out who are learning your native language.

It's an app that works just like a language exchangebetween native speakers of just about any language.You can ask a question and other native speakersin the community will help you to answer it.

So you know sometimes you come acrossEnglish phrases that you just can't find in a dictionary.Some random line from a movie orsome weird song lyrics.HiNative can get you the answersHiNative can get you the answerswhen a dictionary can't.So let's say you're Spanish andSo let's say you're Spanish andyou heard some words in an English song that you justdon't really understand.

I'll be loungin' on the couch just chillin' in my Snuggie.

It's like having a native English-speaking friendthat you can ask for help at any time!You type your question and a native English speakerwill write back to you,usually in just a couple of minutes.You can even upload a voice recording to get feedbackon your pronunciation.

Chilling means relax.A Snuggie is a brand of super comfortable clothing,a little bit like a blanket.So chillin' in my Snuggiemeansto relax whilst wearing my Snuggie. Cool!

When other people learning your native languagehave questions, then you can help them out too!It's so cool! It's free to downloadand it works on any smartphone!Getting help from native English speakers is apiece of cake with HiNative!

So when you need help, how can you ask for it?Well let's start with the basics.There are a few modal verbs that are really helpfulwhen asking for help.

Can can you help me?which means are you able to help?
Could could you help me?which means is it possible for you to help?
Would would you help me?which means are you willing to help?

Other modal verbs are possible too but these threeare the most common ones when asking for help.If you need to be really polite when asking for helplike when you're talking to a colleagueor your boss or a customer for example,it's a good idea to include would you mind.

Would you mind helping me?

Notice how the verb form followingchanges when you're using would you mind.The main verb is always in the -ing form.So these modal verbs are often used to request for help.But what about some of the other expressions thatI mentioned at the start of this video?

(To) give (someone) a hand / (To) lend (someone) a hand

This is another really common wayto ask for help in English.I use this expression all the time.

Can you give me a hand for a minute?
Could you lend me a hand?

It's a casual, relaxed way to ask for help.Usually it's used when what you're askingdoesn't require a huge amount of effortfrom the person that you're asking for help.Here are some more examples in different contextswith different tenses.

Can you give me a hand with these shopping bags?They're really heavy!
My mum really needs someoneto give her a hand in the shop on Thursday.
Thanks so much for giving us a hand yesterday!My brother gave me a hand moving furnitureinto the new apartment.
It was so hot! I wish you had given me a hand.

See how the verb form changes with these expressionswhen the tense changes.

Mum needs someone to give her a hand.
Thanks so much for giving us a hand.
My brother gave me a hand.
I wish you had given me a hand.

To help someone out

Help me out, help you out, help them out.Help anybody out!

When you're asking someone to do something for youor to help you solve a problem,you can use this phrasal verb.But you usually need to say who needs the help.So for example,

I need to translate this sentence. Can you help me out?
I'd really like to help you out,but I'll be working on Saturday.
John always helps his neighbours out.
His parents helped him outwhen he bought his first house.

And in this context, this meansthat they gave him money.

(To) help out

It can be with assistanceor it can be with money.

Now, all those examples were transitive phrasal verbs.I told you who was receiving the help.But help out can also be intransitivebut that's when we know who is being helpedby the context.So let me show you with some examples.

Could you work in the shop next Tuesday?I know that's usually your day offSure, I can help out!

It's clear what I'm going to help out with.

I know you've got lots on at the moment.Would you like the kids to help out tomorrow?

Now if you want, you can add with'to say what help you need.So the structure is to help out with somethingor to help somebody out with something.

Can you help me out with this question?
My brothers and I are lucky my mum and dadusually help us out with money if we really need it.

Okay here's an interesting expression that willallow you to ask for help.I wonder if you've heard of it.

(To) do (someone) a favour

A favour.What's a favour?Well it's something that you can do for someoneto help them.And it's not specific but you can ask someone to doyou a favour that will help youand the way to do that is to say,Could you do me a favour?or Can I ask you for a favour?

Now when you're asking for help,these are great expressions to use.Once you've asked someone for a favour, you can also owe someone a favour. I owe you a favour.

So if you've helped me in the pastand I want to help you,to show you how much I appreciate it,then I can use this expression I owe you a favourIt's my turn to do something for you.

In fact, you can say let me return the favourwhen you want to do somethingfor the person who previously helped you.The person who helped you in the past.You can say I want to return the favour

When talking about favours,you need to remember that this is a countable noun.So you need to include a' when you'retalking about a single favour.You also need to remember these collocations.These are the words that you'll often hear and seeused with favour.

To do someone a favour.
To ask someone a favour.
To owe someone a favour.
And to return a favour or return the favour.

For example:

He really did me a favourby introducing me to Terry.
John keeps asking me for favours, and I've had enough!
My sister owes you a favour!
She returned the favour last week,she took me to a football game!

You know what?

I could use some help

This expression is quite vague,it's not being specific about what help you needor who you need the help from.And it's quite useful in a professional contextwhen you might not want to ask for helpbut still you would like someone to help you out.You can make this request a little more directby saying I could use your helpinstead of some help.In this expression you must use could'as the modal verb.The expression doesn't sound right if you sayI can use your help.

I could use your help moving this furniture.
I could use your help with dinner.

I could use a hand

You can also use I could use a hand in the same way.

I could use a hand, these bags are really heavy!
Paul looks like he could use a hand.

So there you have it! Five ways to ask for help in English naturally.Now idiomatic expressions and phrasal verbslike the examples in this lesson are a little trickybut try to focus on these ones this week.

Ask for help from as many people as you can and offeryour help to others too! It will be great practice.As an extra bonus I'll share an interesting expressionwith you about help.

Have you ever heard anyone say You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours!

It's used when two people both do somethingto help the other,so that they're both being helped.They're both benefiting.The HiNative app is a perfect example of this.When you help from a native English speaker,you can return the favour by helping them tounderstand an expression in your native language. Everybody wins!

If you enjoyed this lesson, make sure you subscribeto the mmmEnglish channelby clicking that red button down thereand check out some of my other lessons right here!

Thanks for watching and I will see you next week for another lesson. Bye for now!

mmmEnglish Video Lessons are a series of video lessons created to build confidence in English learners and focus on English in daily life. Download them and watch them anywhere!Subscribe to my YouTube Channel to be the first to get my new videos, and come and say hi on my Facebook page!!

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