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Aiuto! Posted by on Aug 15, 2017 in Vocabulary

You never know what problems you may encounter when travelling in Italy, so it’s best to carry a ‘tool kit’ of essential vocabulary that’ll help you get out of tricky situations.

Aiuto! (help!) is a word that you’ll definitely need to know, although hopefully you’ll never find yourself in an emergency situation. Perhaps more useful for everyday situations is the related verb aiutare (to help). Let’s take a look at how we use it:

Can you help me?

mi può aiutare per favore? = can you help me please? (formal)

mi puoi aiutare per favore? = can you help me please? (informal)

mi potete aiutare per favore? = can you help me please? (plural)

Can you help us?

ci può aiutare per favore? = can you help us please? (formal)

ci puoi aiutare per favore? = can you help us please? (informal)

ci potete aiutare per favore? = can you help us please? (plural)

Offering help

la posso aiutare? = can I help you? (formal)

ti posso aiutare? = can I help you? (informal)

vi posso aiutare? = can I help you? (plural)

la possiamo aiutare? = can we help you? (formal)

ti possiamo aiutare? = can we help you? (informal)

vi possiamo aiutare? = can we help you? (plural)

N.B. you can also change the word order to: posso aiutarla?, posso aiutarti?, posso aiutarvi? possiamo aiutarla? etc. = can I help you?

Study of hands by Leonardo da Vinci.

Giving a hand

Another very common way of asking for or offering help is by using the expression ‘dare una mono’ = ‘to give a hand’

Can you give me a hand?

mi può dare una mano per favore? = can you give me a hand please? (formal)

mi puoi dare una mano per favore? = can you give me a hand please? (informal)

mi potete dare una mano per favore? = can you give me a hand please? (plural)

Can you give us a hand?

ci può dare una mano per favore? = can you give us a hand please? (formal)

ci puoi dare una mano per favore? = can you give us a hand please? (informal)

ci potete dare una mano per favore? = can you give us a hand please? (plural)

Can I give you a hand?

le posso dare una mano? = can I give you a hand? (formal)

ti posso dare una mano? = can I give you a hand? (informal)

vi posso dare una mano? = can I give you a hand? (plural)

You can also shorten this to le do una mano? ti do una mano? vi do una mano? etc. = shall I give you a hand?

When talking to a friend you can say: dammi una mano (a spostare questo tavolo, ecc.) = give me a hand (to move this table, etc.)
or ask them: mi dai una mano? (a pulire questa stanza, ecc.) = can you give me a hand? (to clean this room, etc.)

If you see someone in difficulty you can ask them: le serve una mano? ti serve una mano? etc. = do you need a hand?

Se ti serve una mano con il tuo Italiano facci sapere, va bene?

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Comments:

  1. BARRY:

    When I was in Napoli once, I was addressed “Mi dica” which literally is I believe “speak or tell me”, but as it was in a retail scenario I took it to mean “can I help you” B

    • Geoff:

      @BARRY Esatto!
      Mi dica is the polite form of dimmi (tell me/what do you want, etc.), and in that context the best translation is, as you rightly say, “can I help you”.

      A presto, Geoff 🙂

  2. Cecilia:

    La tua spiegazione é molto utile. Grazie tante Geoff!


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