1. Reggie
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    Reggie I Like 'Em hot "N Spicy Contributor

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    Not if I can Do it

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Reggie, Jul 1, 2012.

    Does anyone know what the idiom, "not if I can do it again, or not if I can do it" means? I heard that phrase said a few times, so I was curious if anyone ever used that phrase in their book/nove/etc.
     
  2. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i've not come across that as an 'idiom'... can't imagine what it can mean, or in what context it would be used... where did you hear it and in what context?
     
  3. Estrade
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    "Not if I have anything to do with it." ?
     
  4. Estrade
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    "Not if I can help it." ?
     
  5. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yep, if you've started from an English idiom, translated into another language, and then translated back to English, I'd guess that the original was "Not if I can help it.". Which means, essentially, "That's not going to happen if it's within my power to prevent (or avoid) it."

    "I hear that Jane's experimenting with fried grasshoppers! Are you going to her dinner party on Sunday?"
    "Not if I can help it."

    The "help it" does seem odd, given that the meaning of the sentence is preventing or avoiding something. I assume that it grows out of phrases like:

    "I was helpless with laughter."
    "I was helpless to stop myself."
    "I couldn't help myself."

    Those phrases give "help" an alternative meaning of prevent or avoid or control, which leads to the idiom. I should make it clear that I'm making up this explanation; I really don't know the origin, though I'm confident about the meaning.
     
  6. Reggie
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    Reggie I Like 'Em hot "N Spicy Contributor

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    I was thinking that, someone's on the plane. Then the flight attentant challenged him to jump off. He then jumps off and lands on the ground. Someone on the ground asks him, "Did you like that jump?" Then the dude says, "Not if I can jump off it again."

    I always thought that it means I would like to jump off it if I could do it again.
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    that 'jump' sentence sequence makes no sense to me in any way... i can't imagine anyone saying that... or what they'd mean if they did... unless he hit his head on landing and isn't coherent...
     

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