I have been using "reach for help" as an alternative to "seek help" or "ask for help" in a university paper I am writing. Someone pointed out that "reach for help" is not a valid expression in the sense that it cannot be used meaning "ask for help". It sounds very natural to me but I might be in the wrong here.

  • 1
    "Reach for help" isn't ungrammatical, but it doesn't really make any sense in the context you describe, and native English speakers don't really use it. "Reach out for help" is possible, but it's very informal/colloquial, and probably not suitable for a formal written paper. "To seek help" is probably the best collocation.
    – Billy Kerr
    Sep 8, 2023 at 10:40

1 Answer 1


"reach for help" doesn't sound right (in any context). "reach out for help" would be the natural correction, but the alternatives you have been given are also good if not better. Context might determine which sounds more appropriate.

  • "reach for help doesn't sound right (in any context)." I don't think that's true. You can see plenty of examples: Google Book Search
    – Rakib
    Sep 8, 2023 at 13:44
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    As a native speaker it definitely doesn't sound right. I notice the literary references in your search are all American authors ... maybe this is a British / American difference. Sep 11, 2023 at 7:57

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