A student who was learning English wrote:
Can I be assistance you?
This is an error. It is wrong. Anybody who heard this mistake would probably understand but it is a grammar mistake.
Parts of Speech
The main parts of speech are noun, verb, adjective, adverb.
Can I help you? (Verb)
Can I assist you? (Verb)
Can I be of assistance? (Noun)
Can I be of help. (Noun)
Help and Assistance
“Help” and “assistance” are nouns which mean the same thing. English has many parallel words like this where two words have roughly the same meaning. “Help” is a Germanic word which is similar to the German word and “assistance” is a Latin word. English is a mixture of German and Latin and other languages too.
Words with Latin origins like “assistance” are more formal and academic than words with Germanic roots like “help”. A native speaker would probably say:
Can I help you?
In an informal conversational situation.
An employee might say:
Can I assist you?
in a formal or professional setting.
An Assistant is a Person
Another student who was learning English wrote:
I worked as an accountant’s assistance.
This sentence is grammatically correct. It is correct but it is not natural. The natural way to say it is:
I worked as an accountant’s assistant.
An assistant is a person.
High level executives sometimes have a personal assistant to organise and help them with their daily tasks. In the past the word secretary was used for this type of work but the phrase “personal assistant has become more common. Language is always changing.
Do you have a personal assistant?
Have you ever worked as a personal assistant?
Writing is Good for You
Tell us about your experience in the comments s section below. Writing out a description of your ideas and experiences will help you to improve your English. Here are some more questions:
Some More Questions
Write a sentence containing one of these patterns in the comments section below.
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