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To help someone is to provide assistance:

  • Carlos helps his mother. (present tense)
  • Anastasiya is helping her neighbors. (present continuous tense)
  • The teacher helped the students understand the lesson. (past tense)
  • He’s helping his daughter learn how to ride a bike.

man helping daughter He’s helping his daughter.

However, there are a few other, unusual meanings for this word.

When "help" is used as a verb with "can’t," it indicates a person has lost self-control:

  • He needs a cigarette. He can’t help himself. (He can’t stop smoking.)
  • She can’t help herself when it comes to food. (She eats too much, and she can’t stop.)
  • I’m sorry, I can’t help it. (I can’t stop doing some activity: burping, laughing, smiling, sweating, etc.)

You can also use "help" as a verb when telling someone to take something for himself or herself:

  • If you want more to eat, just help yourself. (Go get the food for yourself.)
  • The thieves helped themselves to all the money in the cash register. (They stole some money.)
  • You can help yourself to an enormous amount of free information and education on the internet.
  • Help yourself to some tomatoes.

When used as a noun, the word "help" refers to people who work for others; employees.

  • They need to find more help for the kitchen.
  • It’s hard to find good help these days.
  • We need to hire more help.
  • Click on "help" to find out how to fix this. (There’s always a "help" link when using a computer. This might connect you to a live person, but it’s usually a collection of answers to frequently asked questions — FAQ’s.)

When used as an adjective, "help" refers to people who provide assistance:

  • You need to go to the help desk for more information.
  • The Help Center is open if you need assistance.

Click here to learn more words.

July 11, 2014



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