Is this a natural combination of phrases when asking for help when you are lost somewhere?


My gut feeling is the "お手伝いできますか" part is awkward and sounds like a literal translation from "Can you help?" in English.

Would it be more natural to replace this with "手伝ってもらえませんか?"

Also, I feel the "お手伝い" form is typically used when you are helping someone else, as in ”お手伝いしましょうか”. How natural is it to use this form when requesting someone's help?

Update: corrected typo in the original phrase that Chocolate pointed out.

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    お手伝いできますか sounds more like "Can I help you?" – Chocolate Jul 13 '17 at 23:15
  • @chocolate: Do you think the listener would even be able to figure this out? I guess maybe from context they could guess that the person is looking for help. – Locksleyu Jul 13 '17 at 23:19
  • The 街 is a typo for 道, right? – Chocolate Jul 13 '17 at 23:20
  • Yes, I just corrected it. Sorry about that. – Locksleyu Jul 13 '17 at 23:21
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    I think it would be understood from the context that you're looking for help, but it would sound unnatural... (and maybe a bit impolite...) – Chocolate Jul 13 '17 at 23:39

お手伝いできますか sounds more like "Can I help you?"

手伝ってもらえませんか? would be fine for asking for help, but in your particular situation I'd go for:

道に迷ってしまって・・・ちょっと教えてもらってもいいですか? etc...

  • So I guess you don't need to say "道を(教えて...)" because it's implied, right? – Locksleyu Jul 13 '17 at 23:22
  • Yeah... you'd probably leave it out, avoiding the repetition. – Chocolate Jul 13 '17 at 23:23
  • One other question, is it safe to omit "道に" from the beginning here? Does 迷う by itself sound too vague (like they are unable to decide what to do)? – Locksleyu Jul 13 '17 at 23:26
  • @Locksleyu I think it would be understood from the context. I feel people say like 「すいません、ちょっと迷っちゃったんですけど、道(を)教えてもらってもいいですか」 in casual conversation. – Chocolate Jul 13 '17 at 23:43

手伝う means doing something to help somebody do something.
In Japanese, 教える means not only teach but also tell.

So, likewise, when you need a help doing your homework, asking to 手伝う turns out to be cheating, and so you usually ask someone to 教える something you have a problem with: 教えてください, 教えてもらえますか, 教えていただけますか, etc.

So, at work or at home doing house chores, when you ask co-workers or family members for help, the word is 手伝ってください, 手伝ってくれませんか, or casually 手伝ってね, or in a little commanding tone with still casual air, suitable to talk to your kids, 手伝ってちょうだい.

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