3

I’m trying to write the following exchange in German:

I need your help.
With what?

I know how to translate the first sentence, but the second one is puzzling me. It seems to be one of these two choices:

Ich brauche deine Hilfe.
Mit was?

or

Ich brauche deine Hilfe.
Womit?

Both of these translate to with what, but it’s not clear what each of these is used for. Which one makes more sense in this particular case, or is there another choice which is more suitable?

4

This depends a little on what you’re saying. Different prepositional objects can be added to helfen:

  • jemandem bei etwas helfen — This is the most idiomatic way of saying to help somebody with something. If you have this expression in mind, the question is:

    Bei was?

    or better:

    Wobei?

  • jemandem mit etwas helfen — This has a slight undertone of you using something to help somebody. It is not as common. Consequently, the questions are either:

    Mit was?

    or better:

    Womit?

  • jemandem zu etwas helfento help somebody arrive at something. In this case, the final product is important. Naturally, use:

    Zu was?

    or better:

    Wozu?

In case you didn’t already conclude the rule: You can always use preposition + was, but it is generally better style (and should always be done in written texts) to use the wo prepositional pronoun such as wobei/womit/wozu.

  • Looks like "wobei" was the one I was looking for. Thanks! – Joe Z. Jul 7 '16 at 4:43
  • "wofür" will fit as well, and would be my favorite – tofro Jul 7 '16 at 6:29
1

Beides ist möglich, und wobei/bei was, wofür/für was, wozu/zu was und hoffentlich nicht heute/wieso immer ich oder hast Du keine Frau/Du weißt von meinem Bandscheibenvorfall?

Da man nicht weiß, wobei, kann man auch nicht die passendste Frage wählen, wobei es wahrscheinlich weitere Möglichkeiten gibt, die mir nur jetzt nicht einfallen. Wobei würde ich bevorzugen.

  • 2
    Heute habe ich "Bandscheibenvorfall" gelernt. – Joe Z. Jul 7 '16 at 4:47

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