# Thread: can't

1. ## can't

Which is correct:
1-The sea can't get stormy tomorrow.
2-The sea couldn't get stormy tomorrow.

Meaning: it is impossible that the sea should get stormy tomorrow.

2. 1

3. Thanks Tdol.
2 did sound funny to me too, but on the other hand, if I've understood this correctly
3-"The sea could get stormy tomorrow."
is correct;
and:
4-"The sea can get stormy tomorrow."
is not.
Am I right?

4. There's a difference between the positive and the negative.

5. ## Re: can't

Originally Posted by navi tasan
Which is correct:
1-The sea can't get stormy tomorrow.
2-The sea couldn't get stormy tomorrow.

Meaning: it is impossible that the sea should get stormy tomorrow.
I agree with tdol's response. What about removing the negative?

The sea can (has the potential to) get stormy.
The sea could (possibly) get stormy.

All the best, :D

6. Thanks Cas,
That is my problem. It seems that:
1-That can't happen.
is more natural than:
2-That couldn't happen.
(In 2, it seems to me that there is a condition implied, that couldn't happen even if...)

On the other hand when you are speaking about the possibility of a specific event in the future, you use "could":
3-The sea can get stormy.
(general possibility, "has the potential to")
but would you say:
4-"The sea can get stormy tomorrow."?
I think most NESs prefer:
5-The sea could get stormy tomorrow.

While:
6-The sea couldn't get stormy tomorrow.
is not correct. I suppose because there can be no implied condition (even if it tried!!).

This is my analysis up to this point. I'd appreciate your criticisms.
Cheers

7. That is my problem. It seems that 1- is more natural than 2-:

1-That can't happen.
2-That couldn't happen.

could seems to imply a condition: that couldn't happen even if....
But, there's also, That couldn't possibly happen (i.e. negative form of potential possibility) vs That can't possibly happen (i.e. it wouldn't be permitted). :wink:

Originally Posted by navi
On the other hand when you are speaking about the possibility of a specific event in the future, you use "could":

3-The sea can get stormy.
(general possibility, "has the potential to")
but would you say:
4-"The sea can get stormy tomorrow."?
I think most NESs prefer:
5-The sea could get stormy tomorrow.
I agree with you on 3-. Moreover, in that context, "can" is synonymous with "does": The sea does, in fact, get stormy (at times).

On 4-, I can also get the reading: The sea will, in fact, get stormy tomorrow.

While:
6-The sea couldn't get stormy tomorrow.
is not correct. I suppose because there can be no implied condition (even if it tried!!).

This is my analysis up to this point. I'd appreciate your criticisms.
Cheers
On 6-, I get the reading: The sea couldn't possibly get stormy tomorrow.

All the best, :D

8. Thanks a lot Cas,
A couple of more questions if I may (I hope I am not getting on your nerves with this):
As regards:
That can't happen.
you say it wouldn't be permitted to happen. There is no doubt that the sentence can have that meaning, but can't it simply mean: That is impossible. (logically or factually or...)?

As for "The sea can get stormy tomorrow.", you say:

On 4-, I can also get the reading: The sea will, in fact, get stormy tomorrow.

It seems to me that the person who thinks the sea will definitely get stormy must have a good reason to use "can" and I suppose the reason is either that he wants to be polite when he is contradicting someone else, or that he is being ironic, or something of the sort. Am I right?

And all the best to you too.

9. Originally Posted by navi tasan
Thanks a lot Cas,
A couple of more questions if I may (I hope I am not getting on your nerves with this):
As regards:
That can't happen.
you say it wouldn't be permitted to happen. There is no doubt that the sentence can have that meaning, but can't it simply mean: That is impossible. (logically or factually or...)?
I agree. :D That's where context comes in handy. :D

As for "The sea can get stormy tomorrow.", you say:

On 4-, I can also get the reading: The sea will, in fact, get stormy tomorrow.

It seems to me that the person who thinks the sea will definitely get stormy must have a good reason to use "can" and I suppose the reason is either that he wants to be polite when he is contradicting someone else, or that he is being ironic, or something of the sort. Am I right?
I agree, again. :D Context is important. :D

And all the best to you too.
That's kind of you. Thank you. :D :D

10. I am the one who has to do the thanking. :shock:
Your answers are truly helpful. :D (This is the big-grinned smily, the first one)
All the best. :wink:
(As you see, I can't put smilies on my posts. I have to do everything with words!! So now, you know how important grammar is to me!!)

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