Vocabulary

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Lesson Transcript

Hi everybody! Hiroko here. Welcome to Ask a Teacher, where I’ll answer some of your most common Japanese questions.
The question for this lesson is…What’s the difference between 手伝う(tetsudau) and 助ける(tasukeru)?
Both verbs translate as “to help” in Japanese. So, how do you know which one to use?
手伝う(tetsudau) means to lend a hand in order to lighten the burden of someone’s work or labor. It means the person who offers help will do the same work as the other person.
助ける(tasukeru) means to help a person when he/she is in crisis or danger. 助ける(tasukeru) is more often used in the context of “rescue” than just helping someone with chores.
You can also sometimes use 手伝う(tetsudau) and 助ける(tasukeru) with the same sentence, but the meaning will change.
Let’s go through some examples so you can learn how to use 手伝う(tetsudau) and 助ける(tasukeru) correctly.
First, let’s do an example with 手伝う(tetsudau)--
夕食を作るのを手伝います。(Yūshoku o tsukuru no o tetsudaimasu.)
This sentence means “I’ll help you cook dinner.”
In this case, you’re talking about helping with a household chore, in order to lighten the burden of the person cooking. Therefore, you need to use 手伝う(tetsudau).
Now, let’s do an example with 助ける(tasukeru)--
助けて!(Tasukete!)
“Help!”
This would be a phrase you yell if you were in immediate danger or crisis. Because you need saving or rescuing, the correct verb to use would be 助ける(tasukeru) in the -te form.
Lastly, let’s show similar sentences using both 手伝う(tetsudau) and 助ける(tasukeru)--
A: 日本語の宿題をやっているんだけど、手伝ってくれる?(Nihongo no shukudai o yatte iru n da kedo, tetsudatte kureru?)
B: 日本語の宿題をやっているんだけど、助けてくれる?(Nihongo no shukudai o yatte iru n da kedo, tasukete kureru?)
Both sentences literally translate as, “I’m working on my homework for Japanese, but will you help me?” However, in the first sentence, using 手伝う(tetsudau), it could just mean the student is lazy and could use an extra hand with some papers. However, in the second sentence, with 助ける(tasukeru), it implies that the work is too difficult and that person really needs some help.
As both 手伝う(tetsudau) and 助ける(tasukeru) translate as “help,” you need to think about what kind of help you need in order to choose one over the other. Is it help to reduce your workload or is it help to save you from danger? These are simple questions you can ask yourself when trying to figure out which verb to use.
How was this lesson? Pretty interesting, right?
Do you have any more questions? Leave them in the comments below and I’ll try to answer them!
またね![mata ne!] See you!

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JapanesePod101.com Verified
March 28th, 2017 at 06:30 PM
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What Japanese learning question do you have?

JP do Bahia
February 11th, 2018 at 12:25 AM
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Japanese money for exemple 1000 yen it's 1,00$

JapanesePod101.com
June 26th, 2017 at 10:58 AM
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Alain san,

Konnichiwa.

You are welcome.

Thank you for your positive feedback.?

Yuki 由紀

Team JapanesePod101.com

Alain
May 16th, 2017 at 03:06 AM
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Very useful lesson!

Thank you Hirokosan!