Assistance or Assistants?

Our Story

Assistance or Assistants?

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 or assistants

More about "Assistance" and "Assistants"

The words "assistance" and "assistants" sound identical (i.e., they are a type of homonym called a homophone), but their meanings are different. Here is a quick summary:
  • Assistance means help.
  • Assistants are helpers.

Assistance

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

Examples:
  • 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. (Physicist Stephen Hawking)

Assistants

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

Examples:
  • 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)
Much Assistance and Many Assistants


"Assistance" is a non-countable noun; i.e., it doesn't have a plural form. Therefore, "many" cannot be used with "assistance" because "many" is only used with countable nouns (like "assistants"). With "assistance," use "much." For example:
  • My many assistants provide me with much assistance.
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