it can't be helped

it can't be helped

A phrase used when one is faced with something (usually something unpleasant) that cannot be avoided. I'm not thrilled to spend my Saturday cleaning, but it can't be helped—the house is a mess! We tried to stall for more time, but I'm afraid it can't be helped—you'll have to go on stage now.
See also: help

(It) can't be helped. and (It) couldn't be helped.

Nothing can be done to help the situation.; The situation could not have been avoided. John: The accident has blocked traffic in two directions. Jane: It can't be helped. They have to get the people out of the cars and send them to the hospital. Bill: My goodness, the lawn looks dead! Sue: It can't be helped. There's no rain and water is rationed. John: I'm sorry I broke your figurine. Sue: It couldn't be helped. John: I'll replace it. Sue: That would be nice. Bill: I'm sorry I'm late. I hope it didn't mess things up. Bob: It can't be helped.
See also: and, help
References in classic literature ?
"If it won't do any good to make the thing known," said Nancy, who thought she might now allow herself the relief of entertaining a feeling which she had tried to silence before, "I should be very thankful for father and Priscilla never to be troubled with knowing what was done in the past, more than about Dunsey: it can't be helped, their knowing that."