In a recent Siri interruption event, UK's Defence Minister handled the interruption by saying:

...So, if I may proceed, Mr. Speaker, without the help and support of Siri

This isn't the first time I've heard people using both the words together, conjunctioned by "and". From the dictionary, I read that "help" and "support" are synonymous to each other:

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So, what is the point of using both the words together? Is it just to emphasize the level of help? If yes, then can't we just use some adjective, like "great help" or "informative support" to focus on the particular helpful trait?

The phrase ""help" and "support"" indicates to me that there has been "more help than usual". Now, in such cases, wouldn't it be more beneficial to use an adjective and highlight the specific manner in which there has been "more help"? For example, phrases like "timely help", "detailed help", "useful help", etc. are much clearer than the vague ""help" and "support"". Am I right?

1 Answer 1


In this context, there's no much difference I'd say. Nevertheless, this makes it food for thought. The difference between 'help' and 'support.'

Well, help is something that takes off your learning and you are not that active. On the other hand, support does require your active participation in doing things.

The best example I can think of is doing my homework. If Mike helps me do my homework, it may mean that he did it all! On the otehr hand, if Mike just supports me to perform the same task, he's helping me as and when needed. To make it even simpler, Mike will write down the table of 13 that I don't know at all. That's the help. If he supports me, he'd wait for the moment I get stuck! He'll then tell me the answer.

Take the help of Google, and you know Triskaidekaphobia. It's direct...not many efforts are needed. But when you have your software and you have Google's API to support, it at least requires you to build software on your own, and then take support of Google. Certainly not direct!

Psychologically, help is just a direct serve. Support could be mental as well. A person if boosting your moral when needed would be supporting you more. That's why we have moral support and NOT moral help. help is more obligatory. That's why probably we have helplessness that shows requirement of some sympathy or mercy.

But, let me repeat, in most of the cases, don't dig further! Let them go together without a big change in the meanings.

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