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not if one can help it

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Only without one's agreement, only if one cannot prevent it. For example, Is he taking a second job?—Not if his wife can help it, or He's not riding on the back of that motorcycle, not if I can help it. This idiom uses help in the sense of “prevent” or “cause to be otherwise.” [Mid-1800s]

QUIZ
SHALL WE PLAY A "SHALL" VS. "SHOULD" CHALLENGE?
Should you take this quiz on “shall” versus “should”? It should prove to be a quick challenge!
Question 1 of 6
Which form is used to state an obligation or duty someone has?
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.

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