Difference between "if I can be of any help" and "if I am of any help"

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What is the difference between "if I can be of any help" and "if I am of any help"? For example:

Please let me know if I can be of any help.

or

Please let me know if I am of any help.

This really beats me. All I can say is both seem to offer help.

EngFan

Posted 2016-12-03T09:30:21.703

Reputation: 552

Answers

16

Please let me know if I can be of any help.

This is an offer of help before you have done anything - a future possibility.

Please let me know if I am of any help.

This is asked after you have started helping, to check whether what you are doing is currently useful.

Here is a further possibility:

Please let me know if I have been of any help.

This is asked after you have finished helping, to check whether what you have done was useful.

JavaLatte

Posted 2016-12-03T09:30:21.703

Reputation: 43 538

5

The first one is a polite, idiomatic way to offer help. It basically means "please, let me know if there's anything I can help you with".

The other one seems to be asking for feedback - "please, let me know if I am (currently) helpful". I personally wouldn't use it to offer help, even if it can be parsed this way if you stretch your interpretation a bit.

Maciej Stachowski

Posted 2016-12-03T09:30:21.703

Reputation: 6 370