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  1. #1
    dilodi83 is offline Senior Member
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    Default back up and help out

    1) Jerry is the restaurant's main cook and Tanya backs him up/helps him out when there are plenty of people.
    2) Sonja said she would back me up/help me out if I complained about the new fill-in at work.
    3) Would you mind backing me up/helping me out? I need a hundred bucks within next weekend.
    4) We had a lot of work to do, so Maria helped me out/backed me up.

    In these kind of sentences both verbs mean: to lend a hand, to give help to someone.
    When these two verbs mean "to give a hand to someone", can they be used without distinction? Or are there any specific collocations to use with "back up" and others with "help out"?

  2. #2
    bhaisahab's Avatar
    bhaisahab is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: back up and help out

    Quote Originally Posted by dilodi83 View Post
    1) Jerry is the restaurant's main cook and Tanya backs him up/helps him out when there are plenty of people.
    2) Sonja said she would back me up/help me out if I complained about the new fill-in at work.
    3) Would you mind backing me up/helping me out? I need a hundred bucks within next weekend.
    4) We had a lot of work to do, so Maria helped me out/backed me up.

    In these kind of sentences both verbs mean: to lend a hand, to give help to someone.
    When these two verbs mean "to give a hand to someone", can they be used without distinction? Or are there any specific collocations to use with "back up" and others with "help out"?
    Only #2 is a correct use of "back up".

  3. #3
    dilodi83 is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: back up and help out

    Quote Originally Posted by bhaisahab View Post
    Only #2 is a correct use of "back up".

    Thanks so much for your answer but, why? what's the difference between the two?
    How to use them properly in right context? Because the definition of them, at least the one I found out on the dictionary, is quite similar... and in my language, Italian, these two verbs have just one verb to mean what in English is told with these two verbs...I'd like to learn how to use them correctly.

  4. #4
    dilodi83 is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: back up and help out

    Moreover, I think that in sentences like the ones I'm posting below the two verbs mean absolutely the same concept...and this is confusing me more...

    - The police officers are backed up/helped out by extra teams of people at the weekend.
    - I backed Susan up/helped Susan out at the restaurant when her sister was sick.

  5. #5
    bhaisahab's Avatar
    bhaisahab is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: back up and help out

    Quote Originally Posted by dilodi83 View Post
    Moreover, I think that in sentences like the ones I'm posting below the two verbs mean absolutely the same concept...and this is confusing me more...

    - The police officers are backed up/helped out by extra teams of people at the weekend.
    - I backed Susan up/helped Susan out at the restaurant when her sister was sick.
    - The police officers are backed up/helped out by extra teams of people at the weekend. This one is OK with "back up".
    - I backed Susan up/helped Susan out at the restaurant when her sister was sick. This one isn't.

  6. #6
    dilodi83 is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: back up and help out

    Quote Originally Posted by bhaisahab View Post
    - The police officers are backed up/helped out by extra teams of people at the weekend. This one is OK with "back up".
    - I backed Susan up/helped Susan out at the restaurant when her sister was sick. This one isn't.
    Could you please add the reason of your correction? How to be sure about which one is correct and in which context they can be used?

  7. #7
    dilodi83 is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: back up and help out

    Is there a teacher or a mothertongue who can help me understand the difference between these two verbs?

  8. #8
    bhaisahab's Avatar
    bhaisahab is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: back up and help out

    In my opinion "to back someone up" means to support them. It does not mean to help them out.

  9. #9
    Rover_KE is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: back up and help out

    Quote Originally Posted by dilodi83 View Post
    Is there a teacher or a native speaker who can help me understand the difference between these two verbs?
    Your mother tongue (two words) is your native language.

    There is no single word mothertongue meaning 'native speaker'.

    Rover

  10. #10
    HanibalII is offline Member
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    Default Re: back up and help out

    Quote Originally Posted by dilodi83 View Post
    Could you please add the reason of your correction? How to be sure about which one is correct and in which context they can be used?

    Technically, it is not correct. When read in that context, it is easy to ascertain the meaning. However, it does not sound natural.
    I'm not a teacher yet, but I am studying a Bachelor of Education with an English Literature major at Charles Sturt University, in NSW, Australia.

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