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Thread: cannot

  1. #1
    Anonymous Guest

    Default cannot

    All of my teachers used to tell me that "cannot" cannot be separated.
    Nonetheless, I saw "can not" appear on some official documents.
    Can "cannot" be separated??

  2. #2
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    Default Re: cannot

    Quote Originally Posted by bread
    All of my teachers used to tell me that "cannot" cannot be separated.
    Nonetheless, I saw "can not" appear on some official documents.
    Can "cannot" be separated??
    I'm not 100% sure of which is correct. But I nearly always write the separated "can not " and I have never been told that it's wrong.
    This is what I can say from my experiences. Perhaps you'll get more precise explanation from the teachers or experts here in this forum.

  3. #3
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    MikeNewYork is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: cannot

    Quote Originally Posted by bread
    All of my teachers used to tell me that "cannot" cannot be separated.
    Nonetheless, I saw "can not" appear on some official documents.
    Can "cannot" be separated??
    The word "cannot" is the correct normal way of writing [can + not]. When one wishes to emphasize the "not" in the word, by inserting a slight pause between the parts, one can write "can not". We do this more easily in speech. If one writes "can not" too often, the emphasis is lost and it will be recognized as an error, albeit a minor one.

  4. #4
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default

    I have to say that I don't care for the separation in written language.

  5. #5
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by tdol
    I have to say that I don't care for the separation in written language.
    It is difficult to separate it from a spelling error, innit? :wink:

  6. #6
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    Default

    It is.

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