can't help



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can't help

  1. (idiomatic) Is unable to avoid a situation, or stop something from happening.
    I can't help crying whenever I see "Romeo and Juliet".

Usage notesEdit

  • Only negative forms of can help have this meaning of cannot avoid.
    No one can help laughing when he comes on stage.
  • Can help can have the meaning of be able to avoid only when the context has already established the use of can't help.
    • A: I can't help being scared.
    • B: Of course you can help it.
  • This is a catenative verb that takes the gerund or, with but, the bare infinitive. See Appendix:English catenative verbs.
    I can't help agreeing with you.
    I can't help but agree with you.