I've just had a small talk with someone and he asked me "Brauchst du Hilfe dabei?" and it was completely understandable of course and the conversation kept going on but after that I was thinking about the question myself if it was correct or not. Then I wanted to ask the question here.

Normally, I would say "Brauchst du Hilfe damit?" because in my mind I would've said it in English like "Do you need help with it?". Therefore I would use "damit" since I would use "with it" in English counterpart obviously but when I check with online translators and do some sentence search, I saw that it's mostly used with "dabei".

Any ideas why and would it be normal to use damit instead?

1 Answer 1


I think, in every day conversation there is not much of a difference. Both dabei and damit are common in this context and will be understood when interchanged.

The difference may be one of style. For example, when speaker A puts the focus on an action or a process, it might be more apt for speaker B to use dabei:

A: Ich habe Probleme bei meinen Hausaufgaben (also beim Erledigen der Hausaufgaben).
B: Brauchst du Hilfe dabei?

When A puts the focus on the object that makes problems, it might be more apt for B to use damit:

A: Ich habe Probleme mit meinem Auto.
B: Brauchst du Hilfe damit?

Often, the pronominal adverb is simply omitted:

B: Brauchst du Hilfe?

  • 2
    Hey, thanks for the answer. That makes sense actually because I was trying to pull something so there was an "action". Maybe it's better to omit the adverb and just use "Brauchst du Hilfe?". Thanks again.
    – kenan
    Commented Jan 20, 2021 at 8:20

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