Blog Grammar Rules Help Synonyms: 60+ Examples to Improve Your Writing

Help Synonyms: 60+ Examples to Improve Your Writing

Allison Bressmer

Allison Bressmer

Professor and Freelance Writer

Published Jan 08, 2022

help synonyms

Help!

I need some feedback on this paragraph; I’m fleshing out characters for a short story.

Fred and Barney were two good-hearted, helpful friends. Fred helped Barney with his homework, and Barney returned the favor by helping Fred clean his house. The two boys didn’t just help each other, they helped elderly neighbors with household chores and provided help to young parents by offering free babysitting.

You've probably noticed that I used the word help way too much. So how do we fix it?

Image showing not to overuse words

As writers, we fall into repetitive habits, overusing words and making our writing dull. While I may have to reconsider my story of Fred and Barney entirely for reasons beyond the overuse of help, fixing that problem is a start. And thankfully, it’s an easy one to solve.

Contents:
  1. Help Has a Large Family of Related Words
  2. Synonyms for the Verb Help
  3. Synonyms for the Noun Help
  4. Help as an Interjection
  5. Compare Synonyms for Help

Help Has a Large Family of Related Words

If you’re part of a family, you automatically have a variety of identities. For example, I’m a wife, mother, daughter, sister, cousin, and aunt. I’m just one person, but I function in different ways depending on who I’m with and what my role is in their life. Of course there is an overlap sometimes, but even in a family crowd, I interact with people differently.

Image showing different uses of help

Like many other words, help has its share of identities as well: it can be a verb, a noun, or an interjection. And depending on its context, it performs different functions. As a result, it has a lot of synonyms.

Synonyms for the Verb Help

When we think of the verb help, we most likely think of a scenario in which help means providing assistance or support. That's correct, but there are other meanins, too.

There are a variety of definitions for help, even within its identity as a verb. These sentences show several ways help can take on different connotations and nuances even within its verb identity.

Help the verb can mean

To assist

  • I offered to help her with her move to a new apartment.

Image showing synonyms for help as a verb

To soothe or make less severe or more tolerable

  • Take an aspirin to help your muscle aches.
  • I don’t think there’s anything to help my heartbreak.

To benefit or be useful to

  • She told me earning my degree would help my job prospects.
  • Your generous donation will help us find a cure!

To change for the better

  • More salt will help the flavor come through.

To keep from happening; to prevent

  • Sorry I snore; I just can’t help it.
  • They could not help what occurred.

I think you can see why synonyms are... helpful… when it comes to help. With all of those possible uses, it is easy to fall into using the word repetitively. You must still consider your context carefully, but this chart, organized by common denotations of help, gives you plenty of synonym options to work with.

To assist To make less severe To be useful to
Assist Alleviate Benefit
Support Improve Profit
Aid Assuage Serve
Advise Mitigate Facilitate
Abet Relieve Accommodate
Mentor Soothe Promote
Back (as in support) Ease Foster
Lend a hand Remedy Avail
Provide assistance Mollify Boost

To change for the better To keep from happening
Ameliorate Prevent
Amend Pre-empt
Enhance Forestall
Refine Preclude
Enrich Avert
Upgrade Thwart
Comfort Restrain
Elevate Refrain

Note: the use represented in the final category is pretty close to being idiomatic. We often say “I just couldn’t help myself” or “Don’t blame him, he couldn’t help it.” Swapping a synonym may be trickier here, so be certain the one you choose fits your tone, context, and purpose.

And speaking of idioms, there are a couple of other ways help is used in figures of speech, which means you probably won’t swap out the help for a synonym in these contexts:

  • Help yourself to more food.
  • You cannot just help yourself to my money!

Synonyms for the Noun Help

As a noun, help takes on distinct meanings again, but not with as much variety as it does in its verb form.

Help (the noun) can mean:

An act of assistance

  • I would love some help with this project.
  • If you could lift the other side, that would be a great help.
  • If they want to provide help, they can wash the dishes.

A source of aid or guidance

  • The assembly instructions provided almost no help.
  • The food you sent over was such a help.
  • Their involvement isn’t a help; it’s just another problem!

Image showing synonyms for help as a noun

An Act of Assistance Source of Aid
Aid Advantage
Support Asset
Assistance Benefit
Hand (a hand) Boon
Lift (a lift) Kindness
Abetment Service

The noun help has also been used in negative or diminishing ways to describe domestic workers. People who describe others as “the help” or “hired help” are generally putting themselves in a superior position.

As with the verb help, there are also idiomatic uses for the noun help.

  • The situation is beyond help → there is no relief or remedy for the situation
  • There is no help for him → there really is no hope for the person
  • Help wantedemployees or workers are wanted for hire

While you could substitute remedy, rescue, or relief for help in the first example, and hope or chance for the second, using help in those phrases will convey your meaning most clearly—at least among those who share your language and its idioms.

What About “A Helping?”

When you add “ing” to the verb help, you change the verb’s tense, but not the word’s meaning.

However, helping can also be used as a noun, with a meaning other than “an act of assistance” or “a source of aid.”

Image showing a serving as a synonym for helping

A helping is a serving of food.

  • I’d like another helping please.

  • The kids have already had two helpings of dessert; they don’t need candy!

(A) serving and (a) portion are the most precise synonyms for the noun (a) helping.

Help as an Interjection

Interjection is a part of speech category. Unlike the other seven parts of speech, interjections do not have a grammatical connection to any of their surrounding text.

Interjections are exclamations; abrupt utterances that express an intense, sudden emotion.

When we make exclamations such as these,

  • Help! Someone just tried to rob me!

  • Help! I can’t swim!

  • Help! Help! There’s a child in danger!

we are using help as an interjection.

If you’re in the midst of a situation that requires using help this way, you might not be too worried about synonyms.

But maybe you’re writing a short story and you’ve got time to think about the emergency. Or maybe you’re stranded on a deserted island with nothing much to do but find creative ways to write Help! for when a plane flies overhead. In that case, you can consider these options:

Image showing synonyms for help as an interjection

  • Mayday!
  • S.O.S!
  • Red Alert!
  • Emergency!

Fun Fact: The Beatles’ song “Help!” uses help in all of its respective parts of speech! Synonyms probably wouldn’t have generated such a hit, though.

Compare Synonyms for Help

Screenshot of ProWritingAid's Repeats check

Whether you need another word for the verb, noun, or exclamation help, be certain to choose your replacement carefully. ProWritingAid's Repeats Check highlights the repeated words in your document and offers contextually relevant synonyms that will best fit your context, tone, and purpose.

Try the Repeats Report with a free ProWritingAid account.

I sincerely hope that this post has helped, assisted, and aided you in your quest to find synonyms for help. I only want to be a help, asset, and benefit. If you need any more ideas, send out an S.O.S!


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Allison Bressmer

Allison Bressmer

Professor and Freelance Writer

Allison Bressmer is a professor of freshman composition and critical reading at a community college and a freelance writer. If she isn’t writing or teaching, you’ll likely find her reading a book or listening to a podcast while happily sipping a semi-sweet iced tea or happy-houring with friends. She lives in New York with her family. Connect at linkedin.com/in/allisonbressmer

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