Assistance or Assistants?

by Craig Shrives
The Quick Answer
What is the difference between assistance and assistants?

Assistance means help or aid. For example:
  • I need assistance with my paperwork.
Assistants are people who provide help. It is the plural of the noun assistant. For example:
  • How many assistants will you hire?

Assistance and Assistants

The words assistance and assistants sound identical, but their meanings are different. Here's a very quick summary:
  • Assistance means help.
  • Assistants are helpers.


The noun assistance means help. It usually means providing money, resources, or information to assist. Assistance can usually be substituted with the word help.

  • I am unable to drive without assistance from my glasses.
  • Obviously, because of my disability, I need assistance. But I have always tried to overcome the limitations of my condition and lead as full a life as possible. (Stephen Hawking)


The word assistants describes people who provide help. It is the plural of the noun assistant.

  • Rees and his assistants work at Columbia University, New York.
  • I don't like to work with assistants. I'm already one too many; the camera alone would be enough. (Photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt)
Interactive Exercise
Here are three randomly selected questions from a larger exercise, which can be edited, printed to create an exercise worksheet, or sent via email to friends or students.

See Also

adverse or averse? affect or effect? appraise or apprise? avenge or revenge? bare or bear? complement or compliment? dependant or dependent? discreet or discrete? disinterested or uninterested? e.g. or i.e.? envy or jealousy? imply or infer? its or it's? material or materiel? poisonous or venomous? practice or practise? principal or principle? tenant or tenet? who's or whose? What are nouns? What are non-countable nouns? What are countable nouns? List of easily confused words