Assist is one of the many words in the English language that take the role of more than one part of speech. Basically, assist has a double life!
Edge of your seat stuff, am I right?
Still, even with all of that identity excitement, assist can become dull. That’s something it shares with all other words in the English language.
If you use any word too many times, it becomes flat and loses its meaning.
Perhaps I shouldn’t admit this publicly, but I’ve had group Zoom sessions where a person’s continuous use of a pet word turned into a drinking game for some frustrated attendees.
I didn’t play. I swear. I was just the ref.
We don’t want assist to fall into overuse and end up the butt of a drinking game, do we? So let’s check out some assist synonyms to shake things up.
What Does Assist Mean?
Before we look at replacements—synonyms—for assist, we need to be clear on what the word means.
What Does the Verb Assist Mean?
Assist is an action verb. When you assist someone, you are doing something for them.
To assist is to provide help or to give support, as seen in each of these examples:
Can I assist you?
The porter will assist you with your bags.
The student needed the teacher to assist him with the assignment.
She assisted him in the kitchen.
I will be assisting you as you prepare to move.
What Does the Noun Assist Mean?
In its noun form, an assist is a “thing”—more specifically, an act.
An assist is an act or an action that helps someone or something, as shown in these examples:
She did her homework with an assist from her friend.
He finished his vegetables with an assist from his dog.
Their work was quite poor; they could have used an assist.
You are probably familiar with the phrase "of assistance". Assistance is another noun form of assist.
For the most part, words related to "an assist" also work to replace "assistance" or "of assistance". For example,
May I be of help? (May I be of assistance?)
I need support. (I need assistance.)
There’s another definition for the noun assist, and this one is specific to its context: sports.
In this context, an assist is the action of one player that allows another teammate to score or, specific to baseball, that allows another player to make a putout.
It’s best not to use synonyms or related words for assist in this context as “assist” is the actual name of this type of act.
While he continued to record assists at a prodigious rate, Gretzky’s own goal rate started slipping in his early 30s, as did Hull’s. Victor Mather.
The assist was one of four key passes for Messi, who won 15-of-23 duels in his bid to lead Argentina to its first Copa America since 1993. Nicholas Mendola.
What Are Synonyms for the Verb Assist?
There are plenty of synonyms for the assist verb, but you need to be careful with your selection.
It’s important to consider the context and purpose of the word to ensure that it’s a good fit.
Some options fit many contexts—though you still need to think them through! Others are more related to efficiency or emotional care.
General Synonyms for the Verb Assist
- Attend to
- Be of service to
- Collaborate/Cooperate with
Of all of those options, “help” is the most generic and the most likely to fit into just about any context where assist applies. Most of the others fit a variety of, but not all, contexts.
While it’s appropriate for a server at a restaurant to ask “May I serve you,” that phrasing could sound a little strange in other situations.
For example, if your neighbor is struggling to carry trash cans to the curb, it would be more appropriate to use “help” rather than “serve”.
And while you might always be happy to “oblige a friend,” it could seem a little strange for that restaurant server to ask, “how may I oblige you?”
Though the word’s meaning fits, the word itself is not in a typical context.
Finally, according to the dictionary definition, “abet” means to assist or support but has taken on a more sinister connotation (emotional value).
We usually hear abet in the contexts of one criminal “aiding and abetting” another in order to carry out a crime. So you might not want to ask grandma to abet you at the grocery store.
Assist Synonyms Related to Efficiency
Some assist verbs are more specific to a context of helping to move things along—such as projects, meetings, or deliveries. In this situation, some strong synonym candidates include:
Assist Synonyms Related to Emotional or Personal Support
Sometimes, we just need to give someone a shoulder to cry on. We need to assist them emotionally, but that term just doesn’t feel personal enough. In these cases, you can try:
- Care for
Casual Assist Synonyms
If you’re not looking to make a big deal out of the help you're offering or asking for, or you just want to keep things casual, these options may work for you:
- Lend a hand
- Give a boost
- Back up
- Pitch in
- Do a good turn (for someone)
- Get (someone) out of a tight spot
What Are Synonyms for the Noun Assist?
As with its verb alter-ego, the assist noun also has synonyms. And like the verb synonyms, context and connotation matter.
In some cases, the synonyms for assist share that word’s dual-identity and can take the role of a noun as easily as a verb. Other times, a slight word-form change is required.
General Synonyms for the Noun Assist
Synonyms Related to Efficiency
Synonyms Related to Emotional or Personal Help
- A hand
- A boost
- A good turn
- A lift
Save time and find relevant synonyms while you write with ProWritingAid's Contextual Thesaurus.
What Are Some Examples of Assist Synonyms in Sentences?
Often, the best way to understand how to do or use something is to see that something in action. Check out the examples below to see how to use assist synonyms in sentences.
Examples with Synonyms for the Verb Assist
I’d like you to help me put up the Christmas tree.
Will you support my efforts to win the campaign?
You need to attend to our guests.
I will try to accommodate your special requests.
Of course you can have more tea; I’m happy to oblige you.
She tried to encourage her broken-hearted friend.
He comforted the injured animal.
Faculty is available to mentor first-year students.
We need to expedite the process.
Please facilitate the group discussion.
If you need help setting up, I’m happy to lend a hand.
We need everyone to pitch in and get the park cleaned up!
Examples with Synonyms for the Noun Assist
You’ll notice that in these examples, using a synonym for the noun assist is not as neat of a swap as occurs with the verb.
In other words, swapping out “an assist” for “a help” or “a support” doesn’t always sound right, so some phrasing adjustments will be needed.
She needed a bit of help with that recipe.
They provided meaningful support.
I heard something fall in the other room. Do you think they need attention in there?
We could use some cooperation.
I can offer you an accommodation.
I appreciate the guidance.
The actor’s promotion resulted in more votes for the candidate.
You provided comfort during a hard time.
The note was an encouragement.
Even a small pat on the shoulder can be a significant support.
Do you need a hand?
It would be great if you could give me a boost; I’m drowning in all of this paperwork.
When Should I Use a Synonym?
There you have it. I’ve assisted you in finding some synonyms to make your writing more exciting.
(See what I did there?)
Are there any that I’ve missed? Share your suggestions in the comments.
And with that, I’ve definitely used assist too much in this article. Time to follow my own advice.