I have a question about the lyrics of "Gimme Gimme Gimme (A Man After Midnight)" sung by ABBA.

I wonder about a sentence "Won't somebody help me chase the shadows away". http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/abba/gimmegimmegimmeamanaftermidnight.html

What does the "Won't" mean?
When I first saw this sentence, I thought it was a mistake for "Want".

If the "Won't" is correct, what is the meaning and the nuance of the sentence?
If the "Won't" is incorrect, what is the true word?

  • 1
    "Won't" = "Will not".
    – Mick
    Nov 16, 2016 at 9:42
  • 1
    She is just asking for help and so far, she hasn't found anyone.
    – Mick
    Nov 16, 2016 at 9:46
  • 1
    The song is about a woman being alone, and she's wondering if there isn't a man to keep her company. "Won't somebody help me chase the shadows away" = "Will somebody help me chase the loneliness away"
    – Peter
    Nov 16, 2016 at 9:48
  • 1
    If someone asks you "Won't you help us?" = "Will you not help us?" = "Will you help us?"
    – Peter
    Nov 16, 2016 at 9:54
  • 1
    Using negatives in a yes-no question, especially a contracted form can be interpreted the same as the positive ("Won't you help me?" == "Will you help me?") but often with a different emphasis or expected answer.
    – eques
    Nov 16, 2016 at 15:54

1 Answer 1


As Peter explained in the comments, the core meaning of "Won't somebody help?" is actually "Will somebody help?" That is, both are asking for help.

The core difference is in the connotations:

"Will somebody help" is a simple request for assistance.
"Won't somebody help" is both a request for assistance and a statement / complaint that you have been needing help for a while, but nobody has helped you yet.

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