I can't help myself

Discussion in 'Spanish-English Vocabulary / Vocabulario Español-Inglés' started by Iviexx, Sep 24, 2008.

  1. Iviexx New Member

    English - Spanish
    Hello everyone :]
    Well, I just wanted to know what means this sentence in Spanish:
    "I can't help myself"

    Thank you ~
  2. xymox Senior Member

    Barcelona, Spain
    English, French - Canada

    This depends on the context and th rest of the sentence.

    Pero más o menos dicen "no lo podía evitar" y eso, te repito, depende del contexto, quien lo dice y como lo dice.
  3. bluepolaris

    bluepolaris Senior Member

    Corunna, Spain

    "No me puedo ayudar a mi mismo" or else "No puedo servirme yo mismo"

  4. xymox Senior Member

    Barcelona, Spain
    English, French - Canada
    Desafortunadamente, no es correcto. Es una frase muy común en inglés y quiere decir que "no lo podía evitar" y siempre dependiendo del contexto.
  5. Oschito Senior Member

    Midwest, United States
    English, USA
    Hay (por lo menos) dos significados aquí, bien distintos.

    El primero, como sugiere xymox, implica no poder evitar algo, aunque quisiera.
    Por ejemplo, hay un trozo de pastel, y aunque no debería comerlo, lo como igual.
    I can't help myself, the cake is just too tempting.

    El otro, como sugiere bluepolaris, sería que el hablante no puede ayudarse a sí mismo; que necesita la ayuda de otra persona.
    I am so good at helping others, but now that I'm the one in trouble, it seems I can't help myself.

    Me parece más probable que es el primer significado que busques, pero depende del contexto.
  6. bluepolaris

    bluepolaris Senior Member

    Corunna, Spain
    Hola xymox,

    Lo que usted sugiere es incorrecto, señor mio.

    Según usted, "I can´t help myself" se traduce como "no lo podia evitar".

    Incluso se atreve a cambiar el tiempo verbal, pasando del presente al pasado. Mire usted, si pretende decir en inglés "no lo podia evitar", ha de decir "I couldn´t help it".

    En este caso la frase en cuestión es "I CAN´T HELP MYSELF". Aqui sólo caben 2 posibles traducciones:

    2-"NO ME PUEDO SERVIR" (esto se refiere en la mesa)

  7. koxol Senior Member

    Hay muchas frases que no se pueden traducir literalmente de inglés a español. Una de ellas es "I can't help myself", que se usa de la misma forma que "no puedo evitar".
  8. Oschito Senior Member

    Midwest, United States
    English, USA
    If I'm not mistaken, both phrases work both in the past and in the present. I can't help myself and I couldn't help myself are both perfectly acceptable. I suspect that No lo puedo evitar and No lo podía evitar are both equally acceptable.

    While the verb tense is off, the basic premise holds. I can't help myself is often used to mean just what xymox says.

    Untrue. The two translations you provide are perfectly reasonable (though I personally wouldn't use it to refer to the inability to serve oneself food), but the phrase can also convey a meaning similar to No lo puedo evitar.
  9. bluepolaris

    bluepolaris Senior Member

    Corunna, Spain

    Let´s see. It is evident that everything is possible in American English....but that does not apply to British English, where you cannot make translations in such a gaily manner.

    In American English you can say, to set an example, "Sometimes I can´t help myself!". This expression is equivalent to: "Sometimes I can´t control myself", so the translation would be:

    "A veces no me puedo controlar"..

    Si usted dice "No lo puedo evitar", le contestarán: "¿¿El qué no puede evitar usted???¿¿el qué??

    If you say "I can´t help myself" to an Oxford Professor, he will reply "Then call a waiter, sir, call a waiter!"
  10. koxol Senior Member

    "can't help myself" -lyrics -music -song
    gives more than 500,000 results.

    Remember than just because a phrase is not used in England, it doesn't mean it is not used somewhere else. So even if its grammar is incorrect, the phrase is used and with a certain meaning. In this case "can't help myself" is used as "no puedo evitar".
    Is it wrong? Yes. Is it widely used? Yes. Will explaining its use in a Spanish-English forum help people who are learning English? Yes

    and yeah, I know my English is bad. :)
  11. Oschito Senior Member

    Midwest, United States
    English, USA
    Now now, no point in bashing the flexibility of American English.

    I can use I can't help myself and I can't help it interchangeably, and was unaware that Brits would find this usage odd. But if I understand SydLexia correctly, it seems that this is the case?

    And Bluepolaris, if you say, "I can't help myself" to me out of the blue, I will certainly ask you to clarify what you are talking about. But the "what" one can't help oneself from doing ought to be made evident by context of the conversation/text.

    Let's say I secretly like to dance to reggaetón, and am a little ashamed of the fact. A friend happens upon my secret pleasure and says, "You like reggaetón???" to which I might reply, "I just can't help myself! I when I hear this song I feel like dancing!"

    Maybe we can think of it as "despite all reasoning to the contrary, there are uncontrollable forces at work that have made me do this"...?
  12. SydLexia Senior Member

    London, EU
    UK English
    Apologies, I deleted my post when I checked again and found that there were actually many uses of "I can't help myself" used when I would say "I can't help it"...

    Sometimes google kicks you in the head...

  13. miklo3600

    miklo3600 Senior Member

    English-United States
    How about...

    No me pude resistir.
  14. bluepolaris

    bluepolaris Senior Member

    Corunna, Spain
    Hi again,

    Dear Iviexxx,

    Could you give us a little more context??

    Where have you taken this expression from??

    It´s just because I want to know, I can´t help it...
  15. gurseal Senior Member

    USA Southeast
    English - USA
    Before reading beyond the initial post, I came up with "no me lo puedo resistir." Native Spanish speakers, does my attempt sound odd to you?
  16. _Leona_ Senior Member

    Spain - Spanish
    A little bit. But just by removing 'lo' (No me puedo resistir) sounds fine.
  17. gurseal Senior Member

    USA Southeast
    English - USA
    Thanks, Leona.
  18. mariente Senior Member

    Buenos Aires
    Español, Argentina (somewhere in the planet Urban)
    Como dije antes :
    No puedo con mi genio, no lo puedo evitar
  19. ISABOH Senior Member

    Madrid Spanish
    Well I lived in Britain for quite a while and there I learned "I can´t help it" or " I can´t help myself" when I want it to say " no puedo evitarlo".
    As for the food, well when in a party normally the host say something like: There is food in the kitchen table, please help yourself. But I have never use this sentence in negative form. However I can´t be mistaken and be, on the contrary, quite popular. :)
  20. carlosjoaquin Senior Member

    I can't help myself=no lo puedo evitar

    Esa es la acepción mas extendida. Increible que se necesiten 19 intervenciones para algo tan trivial o que se de como alternativa "no puedo servirme yo mismo".
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 26, 2008
  21. bluepolaris

    bluepolaris Senior Member

    Corunna, Spain

    Esta acepción es absolutamente falsa, cualquier nativo sabe perfectamente que I CAN´T HELP MYSELF no se traduce por NO PUEDO EVITARLO.

    Lo correcto es I CAN´T HELP IT, aqui, en Inglaterra y en Indochina.

    Para esta expresión sigue faltando el contexto que deberia incluir la persona que abrió este hilo, Iviexxx.


    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 26, 2008
  22. Oschito Senior Member

    Midwest, United States
    English, USA
    Quizás en Inglaterra e Indochina no se utilizen las dos frases con el mismo significado, pero no todos hablantes nativos hablan el inglés de estos lugares.

    Here in the US, I can't help it and I can't help myself can be used interchangeably (as long as the action refers to oneself).

    Creo que Iviexxx ya tiene las opciones que necesita para elegir la que encaja en el contexto.

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