July 11, 2014 - Word of the Day: help
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.
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.
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