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Thread: can't

  1. #1
    navi tasan is offline Key Member
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    Default 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. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default

    1

  3. #3
    navi tasan is offline Key Member
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    Default

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

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

  5. #5
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    Default Re: can't

    Quote 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. #6
    navi tasan is offline Key Member
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    Default

    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. #7
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    Default

    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:


    Quote 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. #8
    navi tasan is offline Key Member
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    Default

    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. #9
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    Default

    Quote 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. #10
    navi tasan is offline Key Member
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    Default

    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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