“Can you give me a hand with this?”

English Lesson: Can you give me a hand with this?

You're trying to pick up a heavy box, but it's too difficult. You ask your brother to help you lift the box.

Can you give me a hand with this?

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give (someone) a hand with (something)

"Give (someone) a hand" means to help someone. The word "help" has a wide meaning. It can be used to describe helping someone with a small problem, or with a serious emergency. So when you're asking for help, it's important to express how serious the problem is. For big emergencies, you just yell:


For smaller but still serious problems, you can ask:

Can you help me?

And for small problems that aren't an emergency, you ask:

Can you give me a hand?

Can you (do something)?

This is a way to ask someone to do something. It's appropriate for:

  • a boss to use with the people who work for him or her
  • a customer to use with a store employee
  • a parent to use with his or her children
  • asking a friend to help you with something

"Can you ___" is more direct than asking "Could you..."

Sometimes a person will include "maybe" in this question:

Can you maybe call him and tell him to meet us there?

Can you maybe turn the volume down just a little?