14. Offers

A. Offers of help

When we want to offer someone our help we can say:

I’ll… (if you like)

Shall I…?

Let me…

Would you like me to…?

Do you need any help?

Can I help you (at all)?

Note that Can I help you is used mainly by shop assistants and people whose job is to give information, etc

Is there anything I can do (to help)?

Can you manage?


Yes, please. – in reply to offers in the form of a question

Thank you (very much)

That’s very kind of you. (Thank you)

If (you’re sure) it’s not too much trouble.

If (you’re sure) you’ve for time.

Well, perhaps you could…

Do you think you could…?


No, thank you.

Oh, please don’t bother.

No, it’s/ that’s (quite) all right, (thank you).

Thank you, but there is really no need (to). I can easily…

I (think I) can manage all right, thank you.

B. Offers of Food, Drink, etc

When offering someone such things as food and drink, the following expressions are used:

Would you like…? - the most common used form.

Will you have…? - formal

Would you care for…? - very formal

Have… -if one is actually holding something out

Do have… - more emphatic, persuasive

(Please) help yourself (to…) – used when the food is on the table but one is not going to had it around. Help yourself (without to) refers to everything on the table; help yourself to – to something specific.

The clearest and most usual replies to the interrogative forms are:

Yes, please

No, thank you – both with rising intonation and no pause between the words.

Other possible replies are:

(yes,) that would be very nice

Please. – pronounced with a fall-rise.

Thank you. – as one takes something, especially in reply to (Do) have…or Help yourself (to…). In other situations Thank you alone is ambiguous and should be avoided.

Thank you, but… - refusal followed by an explanation

{Back to Contents}