positive polarity "can help it"

Mark Mandel thnidu at GMAIL.COM
Mon Jan 5 22:18:16 UTC 2009

The quoted sentence doesn't work for me. To me, "X can help it" has to
either be negated --
  She always cries at that song, she can't help it
-- or be the condition of a negated (preposed) protasis --
    They won't VP if I can help it.

    Fred's says he's going to tear down the tent.
    Not if I can help it!

Mark Mandel

On Mon, Jan 5, 2009 at 4:21 PM,  <RonButters at aol.com> wrote:
> What am I missing here? This seems normal to me.
> In a message dated 1/5/09 4:15:13 PM, thnidu at GMAIL.COM writes:
>> "People will be playing these games in a hundred years, hopefully...
>> at least if I can help it."
>> Peter Hirschberg, collector and maintainer of old arcade games. In interview
>> at
>> http://mindtv.org/cgi-bin/display_asset.fcg?member_id=2090;ordinal=1;file=vod
>> ind.ttml;style=mind
>> Near the end, about 4:40 out of 5:04.

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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