I’d like to help you, but I can’t risk losing my job.

According to Cambridge Essential British Dictionary "risk" (v.) means:

If you risk something bad, you do something although that bad thing might happen.

I am confused as to what the phrase "do something" refers to here?

  • In the first sentence, "risk" is used in the sense of to put yourself in danger. In the sense of the quoted definition, "risking something" means taking the risk of doing something.
    – Graffito
    Commented Jul 2, 2023 at 9:28

2 Answers 2


I’d like to help you, but I can’t risk losing my job.

The "something" in do something, for the speaker of this sentence is "helping you".

The "bad thing might happen" is for the speaker to lose their job.

The speaker risks (something bad) if they (do something).

The speaker risks losing their job if they help you.

  • Yes, but what's your opinion about ("He risked losing his house when his company went bankrupt.") this sentence.
    – Sam
    Commented Aug 2, 2023 at 7:11
  • @Sam That's a perfectly good sentence. What's your opinion about it (although you're better asking a new question if you have another question)?
    – Stuart F
    Commented Aug 2, 2023 at 12:39

In your example sentence, it's not stated what "do something" means. In the context, the person the speaker is talking to probably asked them to do something that would put their job in danger. Without more context, we cannot know what that something is.


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