not able to help

not able to help it

Unable to avoid some outcome or action, either because of some irresistible urge or because of powers outside of one's control. This phrase is often used to defend one's actions as involuntary or unavoidable. I don't want to be late to work every day, but I haven't been able to help it—the public transit strike has totally thrown off the train schedule. I know I should cut down on the cakes and treats in the evening, but I'm just not able to help it!
See also: able, help, not

not able to help something

unable to prevent or control something. (Not able to is often expressed as can't.) I'm sorry about being late. I wasn't able to help it. Bob can't help being boring.
See also: able, help, not
References in periodicals archive ?
Still, Ivy believes that all the wealth and success in the world mean nothing if she's not able to help others in her community, so she offers financial assistance to friends and neighbors in need.
30pm I was with a friend who was not able to help me up.
The ECHO called the Hetherington Partnership for comment but the phone was diverted to Gordons, who said they were not able to help with our attempts to speak to the Hetheringtons.
The story was intriguing but I am not able to help whatsoever, it reminded of an incident that happened in my home last year.
Even the oxygen exhaling cows in his gaushalas are not able to help him breathe easily.
Yet because of the traditional accelerator format, which requires everyone to be in the same place at the same time for three months, we're not able to help a lot of these companies.
And consider this: when women aren't achieving their full potential, they're not able to help your company achieve its full potential either.
It's OK for me to face a coup because what use is my being Speaker if I'm not able to help our President?
The two, however, were not able to help themselves and shared tidbits of their special day on social media.
The international student association is here to listen to us, but, unfortunately, they are not able to help in most cases, since the dean kind of has the teachers' back.
It is a pity that the Government was not able to help cities with funding for Olympic events.
We've been able to support so many people so far and it's heartbreaking to think what will happen to those we're not able to help in future without adequate funding.
As a result, the chief compliance officer is not able to help their company understand whether a proper anti-bribery and corruption program is in place, or conduct due diligence on the third parties of the companies being acquired.
Although we were not able to help Luc make it to the 2014 conference, there was a concerted effort to help him make it to the 2015 conference.
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