In our daily lives, there are many different situations. Every once in a while, we might have the chance to offer our assistance to someone else. At the train station, you might want to help an old lady to put her oversize bags onto the locker. When walking in the city street, you may want to help someone with his (or her) moving. In English, there is a wide variety of expressions that you can use in order to offer your assistance. Each has its own meaning and should only be used in particular situations. Ever wonder how native speakers offer their help? Read this blog post to find out how to offer help in English as a native speaker does!
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How to offer help in English – Affirmative forms
1 Let me do something
In English,’ let’ means that you allow something to happen or someone to do something. You let that happen by not doing anything to stop it or allowing it to occur. The phrase ‘Let me’ indicates that you express a suggestion to do something for someone. It does sound complicated, right? Don’t worry. Here are some examples for you to chew on. Note that this is quite an informal way to offer help. Hence, don’t use this one to offer your help to the Queen of England, for example.
- I’m free this afternoon and probably the whole week, too. My boss is on vacation in Hawaii. Let me take the kids to school for you, for free, of course.
- If he does plot her downfall, we must act at once or risk that our plans fall apart. Let me find out if the whole story is true. I just need two more days!
2 I’d be glad to help
We can use ‘I’d be glad to’ to express our readiness to assist to someone. Glad means you’re delighted or pleased to do that.
- I’d be glad to help you out with the wedding preparation. I know you have gone through a lot so I will try to be as useful as possible.
- Anytime you want, I will be here. As I have mentioned before, I’d be glad to help your family in any situation. I owe you everything.
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3 I will
We use the simple future tense for this specific phrase. This is an informal, casual way to offer your help or aid to someone else. We usually use the phrase ‘I will do something’ when you are talking to someone you know well. You’re also sure that the other person will be happy to have your help.
- Why are you busy again in the afternoon? Another pointless meeting with your boss, heh? Fine, I will go shopping for you. Which snacks do you want?
- You can spend how much time you want in the bathroom. We are in no hurry here. I will hold the door for you, I promise. I will keep it open.
4 I’d be happy to do something
This phrase, ‘I’d be happy to do something’, is a little bit different than other phrases we have discussed above in some senses. In particular, it’s the fact that this construction is quite formal. You use this phrase in formal situations, like in a business meeting or professional party. You can also make use of this when you offer your help to someone you don’t know really well at work. And yes, sure enough, it is appropriate to use it when you meet the Queen of England.
- Let me look at my watch here. We still have more than thirty minutes left before going into that hell of a meeting room. I’d be happy to answer your questions. This is your last chance!
- As it happened, I will also be busy in our meeting, Friday 13th, although we planned it in advance, due to an emergency. Thus, I’d be happy to reschedule our appointment.
5 I can (do something)
This phrase is the last one of this section. The verb ‘can’ is a modal verb. It means that you are able to do something. We use this phrase frequently in formal situations. (As this is one of the most polite ways to offer your help to someone).
- What do you want to see, sir? A new suit? A party dress for your lovely wife. We’re running short of that but I will see what I can do, sir. I can assist you with that.
- You might feel cold in here. That’s normal for newcomers, not just you. If you want, I can adjust the temperature of the air conditioners. It’s up to you.
Interrogative Forms (Question forms)
1 May I do something?
‘May’ is a modal verb. It expresses a sense of the probability of possibility or request. If you are not really sure about whether the other person will need your offer, you can sit back and ask this question. It’s quite polite, too. You can use it on many formal occasions. In fact, most question forms to offer your help are usually formal.
- I see you have finished your main courses. May our chef make you two complimentary desserts? It will be at the bar, of course.
- Hey, you there! May I carry your bag for you? I’m not in a hurry here but you sure seem like it. I’m no thief, you can have my words.
2 Would you like me to do something?
‘Would…like’ is a variation of ‘like’. It indicates an offer of help to the person you ask. It’s similar to ‘Do you want me to do something?’ in that it’s very formal. You use this phrase in a polite situation. Situations, when you met your co-worker or some aunts you haven’t seen in a while, is applicable.
- It’s a little bit hot in here, for sure. Would you like me to open the window for you?
- We have a wide variety of choices for you in choosing the appropriate drink for particular events. Would you like me to show you the menu?
3 Can I (do something)?
We talked about ‘can’ as a modal verb before. The interrogative form of can expresses a somewhat less formal offer of help. Nevertheless, it’s still kind of polite. You can make use of this construction with friends whom you know well as well as with strangers. It is a warm way of expressing yourself. At the same time, this phrase indicates the desire to do something for the other person.
- Did you just return from the battlefield? I’m sure you’re craving for anything to eat. Can I bring you a hotdog now and a burger later?
- Are you going to the town? I’m going this way, too, according to our map. I just bought it, so it’s not reliable, for sure. Can I give you a lift?
How you can learn how to offer help in English – in an effective way
- First thing first. You start by adding the eJOY eXtension to your Google Chrome browser.
- What makes the eJOY eXtension different from other vocabulary learning extensions on the market is that it helps you learn with contexts.
- Moreover, eJOY has the WordHunt feature. It allows you to search for a word/ phrase context in many videos in eJOY’s library. (I must say, there are a lot of videos.) Here’s how to use it.
- First, you need to go to the WordHunt website.
- The, you can type a word/ phrase you want to search for.
- Tap the little button “Say it”.
- WordHunt will list all videos in eJOY’s library containing your word/ phrase in their subtitles.
- Listen and practice (repeat) the different contexts in which the narrators used the word.
- You can also use the eJOY eXtension instead of having to visit a website. Whenever you look up a word with eJOY eXtension, there will always be an orange button ‘Say It’. Be bold, tap on that, and guess where you’re going!
I hope this short article will help you learn how to offer help in English. Have anything to add? Want to ask us about the eJOY eXtension? Let us know in the comment section below!