Should I use -ing form after can't help but? Some examples from the web that appear conflicting to me:

I can't help but feel there will be people who will be thinking about what happened.


I can't help but feeling ripped off.

2 Answers 2


Just as "I feel", "I can't help but feel". You could use "feeling" if you reworded the sentence: "I can't help but have the feeling that I was ripped off" or "I can't help but have the feeling of being ripped off". The "can't help but" part does not change the form of the verb. You could just take those three words out and have the same meaning (or at least pretty close).

  • So the second example is incorrect? It should be "I can't help but feel ripped off?"
    – Gruber
    Apr 26, 2016 at 10:39
  • @Gruber: That is correct.
    – zondo
    Apr 26, 2016 at 10:48
  • 2
    You could also say "I can't help feeling ripped off" if you want to use "feeling" as a gerund instead of a noun.
    – stangdon
    Apr 26, 2016 at 14:40

"Cant' help but do anything" and "can't help doing it" mean the same thing, the former being somewhat more formal, IMO. "Can't help but doing" is incorrect.

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