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How to say “can’t help doing” in Italian

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Eleonora

I’m originally from Argentina but grew up in Italy, so I’m bilingual. I love languages, which is why I studied French and Linguistics in London. I’m a grammar nerd and I love finding out about the meaning of words.

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“Can’t help doing” in Italian

In today’s post, you’re going to learn how to say “can’t help doing” in Italian.

We’re going to focus on two useful expressions.

You’ll understand them better in context, but for now, have a look at them on their own:

Here are some examples:

Non posso non pensare che sarà peggio.

I can’t help thinking it’ll be worse.
Literally: I cannot not think it’ll be worse.

Non posso fare a meno di pensare a lei.

I can’t help thinking of her.
Literally: I can’t do without thinking of her.

In order to use these expressions, you need to know how to conjugate the verb potere.

Here’s its conjugation:

  • io posso, tu puoi, lui/lei può, noi possiamo, voi potete, loro possono

Let’s have a look at these expressions in more detail!

How to say cant help it in Italian

How to say “can’t help doing” in Italian?

“Can’t help doing” is a way of saying that we don’t want to do a particular thing because we know it’s not good, but we can’t stop ourselves from doing it.

In Italian, there’s no direct translation for this useful expression.

If we translated it literally it would just sound very odd and no one would understand us.

Instead, we use the following structure:

  • non + conjugated form of the verb potere + non + infinitive verb

Let’s have a look at some examples:

Non posso non pensare che sia colpa mia!

I can’t help thinking it’s my fault!

Non possiamo non venire con te!

We can’t help coming with you!

Non posso non mangiare questa torta!

I can’t help eating this cake!

As we showed you above, the literal translation of non potere non would be “cannot not”, as in “I cannot not eat this cake!”.

Here’s the other structure:

  • non + conjugated form of potere + fare a meno di + infinitive verb

Non posso fare a meno di chiedere.

I can’t help asking.

Non possiamo fare a meno di provare pietà per lei.

We can’t help feeling sorry for her

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What does fare a meno di mean

What does “fare a meno di” mean in Italian?

You might be wondering what fare a meno di means.

Here’s the answer:

Fare a meno di means:

  • To manage without and accept the lack of
  • To do without and accept the lack of

To put it simply, fare a meno di means “to do without”.

And we can also say fare a meno di + something/someone.

Also, instead of di, we can say del, della, dell’, dei, delle, and degli, depending on what we’re referring to.

Here’re some examples.

Dovresti imparare a fare a meno di lui.

You should learn how to do without him.

Non posso fare a meno dei miei occhiali.

I can’t do without my glasses.

Cant help doing in Italian

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