When describing someone helping someone else, does ayudar take a direct or indirect object pronoun? In other words, is it:
¿Lo puedo ayudar? or ¿La puedo ayudar?
¿Le puedo ayudar?
If both are used, what is the difference?
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There is no difference in meaning. The verbs ayudar and obedecer are changing their patterns. Historically (in medieval Spanish) they would take a dative pronoun (le); nowadays they take mostly an accusative one (la/lo).
See: DPD, “Leísmo”, sección 4e