In English, words "help" can be used for any of these cases to ask somebody for assist or to offer a help to someone:

In a store, when a salesman (store worker) says:

Can I help you, sir?

With friends, as soon as you view that your friend demands some aid on math:

Do you want a aid with math?

When someone is carrying heavy things:

Shall I help you?

When it"s me who needs some help.

You are watching: May i help you in japanese

I desire a assist to make cookies.

Help with family things (housework) such as cleaning, ironing:

Son, please aid me cleaning the dishes.

To thank:

Thanks for your help. I"m happy that i could assist you somehow.

In what cases are the rememberingsomer.com expression "手伝う", "手を貸す", and also "助ける" (or in the develops "手伝いましょうか?", "手伝ってくれ?", "手を貸して。", "助けてくれ。", :教えてあげる。", "教えよっか?") used?


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edited Sep 2 "16 in ~ 4:52
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Chocolate♦
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daniel tomiodaniel tomio
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I completely agree, this is much harder to interpret (well) than one would expect.

There are numerous nuances and scenarios extended by the English "can I assist you", and also you list a most them... For this reason I"ll emphasis on three very typical wide categories (I"m sure civilization will provide you more):

Strangers: Typically, offering your aid finding directions to a tourist that looks lost.

Rather than a straight "Can I assist you?", any kind of variations on "are you OK?" (implying the you are ready to help) is most likely the best method to go. Depending on context, anything native a 大丈夫ですか? to 道に迷っているんですか。

Close friends and also family: where an identical of the unshened "Need a hand?" would be appropriate. Then 手伝う have the right to come handy... Indigenous a purely cultural standpoint, i still would try to keep it sounding much more like an offer than a question. E.g. 手伝ってあげよう ("let me help!") fairly than (the otherwise perfect correct): 手伝って欲しい? ("do you desire me to help?").

Less near friends, subordinates or same-level colleagues would certainly be sport of the over (with appropriate use of polite verbal forms).

Your boss (or any kind of person high-enough over you): is a different matter. Over there are many sonkeigo-infused expressions to offer help. They all have actually in usual that you must make it sound favor you are asking for a favour, not doing castle a favour.

One the my an individual favourite sonkeigo expression for that is:

お手伝いさせていただきます

(with many variants:)

お手伝いさせていただけますか

お手伝いさせていただきましょうか

手伝わせていただけますか

etc.

Which literally means you are begging your boss to execute you the favour that accepting her help.

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Edit: as for ways to thank somebody for your help. It is when again under to context. Most an easy (and literal) means would be: 手伝ってくれてありがとうございました but if it was a large favour/help, you can"t walk wrong by concentrating on "the trouble you"ve caused" (and apologising for it), in which situation you"d use: 迷惑をかけて申し訳無い (for bigger favours) or a basic すみません (which method both "sorry" and "thank you" in the context).