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  1. #1
    jasonlulu_2000 is offline Senior Member
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    Default more than you can help

    I came across the following sentence while reading:

    Don't cough more than you can help.

    I cannot make any sense of it. Can you help me to understand this sentence?

    Thanks

    Jason

  2. #2
    Gillnetter is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: more than you can help

    Quote Originally Posted by jasonlulu_2000 View Post
    I came across the following sentence while reading:

    Don't cough more than you can help.

    I cannot make any sense of it. Can you help me to understand this sentence?

    Thanks

    Jason
    Do not cough in excess of your ability to control the coughing. This is a fairly common form - "Do not spend any more than you can help". The "you can help" part speaks to your ability to stop or control something.

  3. #3
    Barb_D's Avatar
    Barb_D is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: more than you can help

    It does make you wonder who spends time coughing optionally.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  4. #4
    SoothingDave is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: more than you can help

    People who do so rhetorically?

  5. #5
    emsr2d2's Avatar
    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: more than you can help

    It does seem strange when worded this way. I would expect "Don't cough if you can help it", meaning "Don't cough if you can possibly avoiding doing so".
    Remember - correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing make posts much easier to read.

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