(someone) can't help but (do something)
- 'couldn't help' here has the meaning of 'couldn't stop herself from' smiling/couldn't refrain from. It is not 'help' in the sense of assisting someone or asking for help. Hi，David, you mean these two sentences are of the same meaning?
- The phrase 'I couldn't help it' means that you were compelled to do something or you couldn't resist a temptation.
Use this phrase to talk about something that you can't control.
Definition: I couldn't help myself - with Gymglish, online personalized daily English lessons for all levels.
Billions season 3 torrent. A common word to follow 'can't help but' is 'wonder'. This expresses something that really makes you curious:
I can't help but wonder what my life would have been like if I'd gone to college in the U.S.
When you use this phrase in the past tense, 'notice' or 'overhear' are common. They're a way to start a conversation with someone:
I couldn't help but notice that your t-shirt has some Korean writing on it. Do you know what it says?
I couldn't help but overhear you saying something about a film festival. Are you a filmmaker?
This phrase appears in these lessons:
The Sound of Music is a 1965 American film about a woman who leaves an Austrian convent to become a governess to a Naval officer widower and his seven children.
- Directed by Robert Wise. Written by Ernest Lehman, based on the novel by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse (which was based on an autobiography by Maria von Trapp, entitled The von Trapp Family Singers.
Maria Rainer-Von Trapp
- [singing] The hills are alive with the sound of music,
With songs they have sung for a thousand years.
The hills fill my heart with the sound of music.
My heart wants to sing every song it hears!
My heart wants to beat like the wings of the birds that rise from the lake to the trees.
My heart wants to sigh like a chime that flies from a church on a breeze.
To laugh like a brook when it trips and falls over stones on its way.
To sing through the night like a lark who is learning to pray!
I go to the hills when my heart is lonely.
I know I will hear what I've heard before.
And my heart will be blessed with the sound of music.
And I'll sing once more.
- [singing] Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens,
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens,
Brown paper packages tied up with strings,
These are a few of my favorite things.
- The first three notes just happen to be, Do-Re-Mi. Do-Re-Mi-Fa-Sol [pronounced So]-La-Ti. Oh, let's see if I can make it easier.
[singing] Doe, a deer, a female deer. Ray, a drop of golden sun
Me, a name I call myself. Far, a long, long way to run.
Sew, a needle pulling thread. La, a note to follow Sol
Tea, a drink with jam and bread. That will bring us back to Do..
Captain Georg von Trapp
- [before he sings 'Edelweiss' reprise version] My fellow Austrians, I shall not be seeing you again perhaps for a very long time. I would like to sing for you now.. a love song. I know you share this love. I pray that you will never let it die.
[singing] Edelweiss, Edelweiss, every morning you greet me.
Small and white, clean and bright, you look happy to meet me.
Blossom of snow may you bloom and grow, bloom and grow forever.
Edelweiss, Edelweiss, bless my homeland forever.Blossom of snow may you bloom and grow, bloom and grow forever. Edelweiss, Edelweiss bless my homeland forever.
- [singing] How do you solve a problem like Maria?
How do you catch a cloud and pin it down?
Many a thing you know you'd like to tell her, many a thing she ought to understand
..How do you hold a moonbeam in your hand?
- [singing] Climb ev'ry mountain, search high and low.
Follow ev'ry byway, every path you know.
Climb ev'ry mountain, ford every stream.
Follow every rainbow, till you find your dream.
A dream that will need all the love you can give
Every day of your life for as long as you live..
- Maria: I just couldn't help myself. The gates were open and the hills were beckoning and everything was so green and fresh, and the Untersberg kept leading me higher and higher, as if it wanted me to go right through the clouds with it.
- Reverend Mother: Child, suppose darkness had come and you were lost?
- Maria: Oh, mother, I could never get lost up there, that’s my mountain, I was brought up on it,..It was the mountain that led me to you. Sometimes, I would come down the mountain, and climb a tree, and look over your wall into your garden and hear the Sisters singing on their way to Vespers; which brings me to another transgression, Reverend Mother, I was singing out there today, without permission..I can't seem to stop singing wherever I am. And what's worse, I can't seem to stop saying things - anything and everything I think and feel.
- Reverend Mother: Some people would call that honesty.
- Maria: Oh, but it's terrible, Reverend Mother. You know how Sister Berthe always makes me kiss the floor after we've had a disagreement? Well, lately I've taken to kissing the floor whenever I see her coming, just to save time.
- Captain: You are the twelfth in a long line of governesses who have come here to look after my children since their mother died. I trust you will be an improvement on the last one. She stayed only two hours.
- Maria: What's wrong with the children, Captain?
- Captain: Oh, there's nothing wrong with the children. Only the governesses. They were completely unable to maintain discipline. Without it, this house cannot be properly run. Will you please remember that, Fraulein? Every morning, you will drill the children in their studies. I will not permit them to dream away their summer holidays. Each afternoon, they will march about the grounds breathing deeply. Bedtime is to be strictly observed - no exceptions..You will see to it that they conduct themselves at all time with the utmost orderliness and decorum. I am placing you in command.
- Captain: Now, when I want you, this is what you will hear. [blows whistle]
- Maria: Oh, no, sir, I'm sorry, sir. I could never answer to a whistle. Whistles are for dogs and cats and other animals, but not for children, and definitely not for me. It would be too.. humiliating.
- Captain: Fräulein, were you this much trouble at the Abbey?
- Maria: Oh, much more, sir!
- Captain: Hmm. [starts to leave the room when Maria blows the whistle. He looks back at her.]
- Maria: Excuse me, sir, I don't know your signal.
- Captain: You may call me 'Captain.'
- Maria: I'd like to thank each and every one of you for the precious gift you left in my pocket today.
- Captain: Um, what gift?
- Maria: It's meant to be a secret, Captain, between the children and me.
- Captain: Uh-huh. Then I suggest that you keep it, and let us eat.
- Maria: Knowing how nervous I must have been, a stranger in a new household, knowing how important it was for me to feel accepted. It was so kind and thoughtful of you to make my first moments here so warm and happy and.. pleasant.
- [All the while, the children look guilty. Marta starts to cry]
- Captain: What is the matter, Marta?
- Marta: Nothing.
- [Louisa, Brigitta and Gretl join in, while Liesl, Friedrich and Kurt continue to look guilty]
- Captain: Uh, Fräulein.. is it to be at every meal, or merely at dinnertime, that you, uh, intend leading us all through this rare and wonderful new world of.. indigestion?
- Maria: Oh, they're all right, Captain. They're just happy.
- Rolfe: [singing] You are sixteen, going on seventeen, baby it's time to think.
Better beware, be canny and careful, baby you're on the brink.
You are sixteen, going on seventeen, fellows will fall in line..
Eager young lads and roués and cads Will offer you food and wine.
Totally unprepared are you, to face a world of men.
Timid and shy and scared are you, of things beyond your ken.
You need someone older and wiser, telling you what to do.
I am seventeen, going on eighteen. I'll take care of you..
- Liesl: [singing] I am sixteen, going on seventeen. I know that I'm naive.
Fellows I meet may tell me I'm sweet, and willingly I believe.
I am sixteen, going on seventeen, innocent as a rose..
Bachelor dandies, drinkers of brandies, what do I know of those?
Totally unprepared am I, to face a world of men.
Timid and shy and scared am I, of things beyond my ken.
I need someone older and wiser telling me what to do.
You are seventeen, going on eighteen. I'll depend on you.
- Maria: Dear Father, now I know why You sent me here. To help these children prepare for a new mother. And I pray this will become a happy family in Thy sight. God bless the captain. God bless Liesl and Friedrich. God bless Louisa, Brigitta, Marta and little Gretl. And I forgot the other boy. What's his name? Well, God bless what's-his-name. God bless the Reverend Mother and Sister Margaretta and everybody at the abbey. And now, dear God, about Liesl. Help her know that I'm her friend and help her tell me what she's been up to..
- [a rain-soaked Liesl enters through Maria's window]
- Liesl: You are not going to tell father are you?
- Maria: Shh, help me to be understanding so that I may guide her footsteps. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, Amen.
- Liesl: I was out walking and somebody locked the doors early. I didn't want to wake everybody, so when I saw your window open. You're not going to tell Father, are you?
- Maria: How in the world did you climb up here?
- Liesl: It's how we always got in to play tricks on the governess. Louisa can make it with a whole jar of spiders in her hand.
- Maria: Spiders? Liesl, were you out walking all by yourself? If we wash that dress tonight, nobody would notice it tomorrow. You could put this on. Take your dress and put it to soak in the bathtub. Come back here and sit on the bed, and we'll have a talk.
- Liesl: I told you today I didn't need a governess. Well, maybe I do.
- [Maria and the children are singing 'My Favorite Things' and by the end, Maria is caught by the Captain]
- Captain: Fraulein Maria, did I or did I not say that bedtime is to be strictly observed in this household?
- Maria: Yes, well the children were scared of the thunderstorm and.. You did, sir.
- Captain: And do you or do you not have trouble following these simple instructions?
- Maria: Only during thunderstorms, sir.
- Captain: Is it possible, or could I have just imagined? Have my children by any chance been climbing trees today?
- Maria: Yes, Captain.
- Captain: I see. And where, may I ask, did they get these, uhm, these..
- Maria: Playclothes.
- Captain: Oh, is that what you call them?
- Maria: I made them, from the drapes that used to hang in my bedroom..They still had plenty of wear left. The children have been everywhere in them.
- Captain: Do you mean to tell me that my children have been roaming about Salzburg dressed up in nothing but some old drapes?!
- Maria: Umm, hmm, and having a marvelous time.
- Captain: They have uniforms.
- Maria: Straitjackets, if you'll forgive me.
- Captain: I will not forgive you for that.
- Maria: Children can't do all the things they're supposed to if they have to worry about spoiling their precious clothes.
- Captain: They haven't complained yet.
- Maria: Well, they wouldn't dare! They love you too much. They fear you too much!
- Captain: I don't wish you to discuss my children in this manner.
- Maria: Well, you've got to hear from someone! You're never home long enough to know them.
- Captain: I said I don't want to hear anymore from you about my children!
- Maria: I know you don't, but you've got to! Now, take Liesl.
- Captain: [hesitatingly] You will not say one word about Liesl, Fraulein.
- Maria: She's not a child anymore, and one of these days, you're going to wake up and find that she's a woman. You won't even know her. And Friedrich, he's a boy, but he wants to be a man and there's no one to show him how.
- Captain: Don't you DARE tell ME about my son!
- Maria: Brigitta could tell you about him if you let her get close to you. She notices everything.
- Captain: Fraulein..
- Maria: And Kurt pretends he's tough not to show how hurt he is when you brush him aside..
- Captain: That will do!
- Maria: ..the way you do all of them. Louisa I don't even know about yet..
- Captain: I said that will do!
- Maria: But somebody has to find out about her, and the little ones just want to be loved. Oh, please, Captain, love them! Love them all!
- Captain: I don't care to hear anything further from you about my children.
- Maria: I'm not finished with you!
- Captain: Oh, yes, you are, Captain! [pauses, then corrects himself] Fraulein! You will pack your things and return to the abbey.
- [suddenly hears the children singing]
- Captain: I behaved badly. I apologize..You were right. I don't know my children..You've brought music back into the house. I'd forgotten. Fraulein, I want you to stay. I ask you to stay more than you know.
- Elsa: My dear, is there anything you can't do?
- Maria: Well, I'm not sure I'll make a very good nun.
- Elsa: Oh, if you have any problems, I'd be happy to help you.
- Max: Is there a more beautiful expression of what is good in this country of ours than the innocent voices of our children?
- Zeller: Oh, come now, Baron, would you have us believe that Austria alone holds a monopoly on virtue?
- Captain: Herr Zeller, some of us prefer Austrian voices raised in song to ugly German threats.
- Zeller: The ostrich buries his head in the sand, and sometimes in the flag. [He turns toward the Austrian flag, prominently displayed] Perhaps those who would warn you that the Anschluss is coming - and it is coming, Captain - perhaps they would get further with you by setting their words to music.
- Captain: If the Nazis take over Austria, I have no doubt, Herr Zeller, that you will be the entire trumpet section.
- Zeller: You flatter me, Captain.
- Captain: Oh, how clumsy of me. I meant to accuse you.
- Elsa: Now, where is that lovely little thing you were wearing the other evening, when the Captain couldn't keep his eyes off you.
- Maria: Couldn't keep his eyes off me?
- Elsa: Come, my dear, we are women. Let's not pretend we don't know when a man notices us..
- Maria: The Captain notices everybody and everything.
- Elsa: Well, there's no need to feel so defensive, Maria. You are quite attractive, you know. The Captain would hardly be a man if he didn't notice you.
- Maria: Baroness, I hope you're joking.
- Elsa: Not at all.
- Maria: But I've never done a thing to..
- Elsa: But you don't have to, Maria. There's nothing more irresistible to a man than a woman who's in love with him.
- Maria: 'In love with him'?
- Elsa: Of course. What makes it so nice is he thinks he's in love with you.
- Maria: But that's not true.
- Elsa: Oh surely you've noticed the way he looks into your eyes. And you know, uh, you blushed in his arms when you were dancing just now. Don't take it to heart. He'll get over it soon enough, I should think. Men do, you know.
- Maria: Then I should go. I mustn't stay here.
- Maria: I left.. I was frightened.. I was confused. I felt, I've never felt that way before, I couldn't stay. I knew that here I'd be away from it. I'd be safe.. I can't face him again.. Oh, there were times when we would look at each other. Oh, Mother, I could hardly breathe.. That's what's been torturing me. I was there on God's errand. To have asked for his love would have been wrong. I couldn't stay, I just couldn't. I'm ready at this moment to take my vows. Please help me.
- Reverend Mother: Maria, the love of a man and a woman is holy too. You have a great capacity to love. What you must find out is how God wants you to spend your love.
- Maria: But I pledged my life to God. I pledged my life to his service.
- Reverend Mother: My daughter, if you love this man, it doesn't mean you love God less. No, you must find out and you must go back.
- Maria: Oh, Mother, you can't ask me to do that. Please let me stay, I beg of you.
- Reverend Mother: Maria, these walls were not built to shut out problems. You have to face them. You have to live the life you were born to live.
- Captain: You left without saying goodbye, even to the children.
- Maria: It was wrong of me, forgive me.
- Captain: Why did you?
- Maria: Please don't ask me. Anyway, the reason no longer exists.
- Elsa: [entering] Fraulein Maria, you've returned. Isn't it wonderful, Georg?
- Maria: May I wish you every happiness, Baroness? And you too, Captain. The children tell me you're to be married.
- Elsa: Thank you, my dear.
- Captain: You are back to, uh, stay?
- Maria: Only until arrangements can be made for another governess.
- Captain: It's no use, you and I. I'm being dishonest to both of us and utterly unfair to you. When two people talk of marriage..
- Elsa: No, don't, don't say another word, Georg, please? You see, uh, there are other things I've been thinking of. Fond as I am of you, I really don't think you're the right man for me. You're much too independent and I need someone who needs me desperately, or at least needs my money desperately. I've enjoyed every moment we've had together. I do thank you for that. Now, if you'll forgive me, I'll go inside, pack my little bags, and return to Vienna where I belong. And somewhere out there is a young lady who I think will never be a nun.
- Captain: There isn't going to be any Baroness..well, we've, uhm, called off our engagement, you see..Well, you can't marry someone when you're in love with someone else, can you? [he kisses her]
- Maria: The Reverend Mother always says, 'when the Lord closes a door, somewhere he opens a window'.
- Captain: What else does the Reverend Mother say?
- Maria: That you have to look for your life.
- Captain:'Is that why you came back? [She nods] And have you found it Maria?
- Maria: I think I have. I know I have.
- Captain: I love you.
- ['Somthing Good' begins to play]
- Maria: Oh, can this be happening to me?
- [During the song]
- Captain: [he brings Maria to the center of the gazebo] Do you know when I first started loving you? That night at the dinner table when you sat at that ridiculous pine cone. [laughs]
- Maria: What? [laughs too] I knew the first time you blew that whistle.
- Captain: [as he caresses her cheek with his right hand] Oh, my love..
- Liesl: [after Ralf rejects her] Mother?
- Maria: That sounds so nice.
- Liesl: I like calling you 'Mother.'
- Maria: I like hearing it.
- Liesl: You love Father very much. I can tell you do.
- Maria: Very much.
- Liesl: Mother, what do you do when you think you love someone? I mean, when you stop loving someone or he stops loving you?
- Maria: Well, you cry a little. Then you wait for the sun to come out. It always does.
- Liesl: There are so many things I think I should know but I don't. I really don't.
- Maria: How can you?
- Liesl: Sometimes I feel the world is ending.
- Maria: Then you feel it's just beginning?
- Liesl: Yes!
- Maria: It was that way with me. And for you it will be just as wonderful.
- Radiance that floods the screen..and warms the heart!
I Can't Help Myself Meaning
- The more you see it, the more it becomes one of your favorite things!
- The Happiest Sound In All The World!
- Julie Andrews - Maria
- Christopher Plummer - Captain Georg von Trapp
- Charmian Carr - Liesl von Trapp
- Nicholas Hammond - Friedrich von Trapp
- Heather Menzies - Louisa von Trapp
- Duane Chase - Kurt von Trapp
- Angela Cartwright - Brigitta von Trapp
- Debbie Turner - Martha von Trapp
- Kym Karath - Gretl von Trapp
- Richard Haydn - Max Detweiler
- Eleanor Parker - The Baroness Elsa
- Peggy Wood - Reverend Mother
- Anna Lee - Sister Margaretta
- Portia Nelson - Sister Berthe
- Ben Wright - Herr Zeller
- Daniel Truhitte - Rolfe
- Norma Varden - Frau Schmidt
- Marni Nixon - Sister Sophia
- Gil Stuart - Franz
- Evadne Baker - Sister Bernice (final film role)
Can T Help Myself Song
Can't Help Myself
- The Sound of Music quotes at the Internet Movie Database
- The Sound of Music at Rotten Tomatoes
- The Sound of Music at Filmsite.org