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  1. #1
    guzhao67 is offline Junior Member
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    Smile believe and can believe

    Dear porfessor: could you please explain the difference between "believe" and "can believe"? (love and can love; know and can know etc) How the "can" can give the listed verbs an airy feeling? ("airy feeling" was cited from a grammar book but it was not clear enough for me) thank you.

  2. #2
    Raymott's Avatar
    Raymott is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: believe and can believe

    Quote Originally Posted by guzhao67 View Post
    Dear porfessor: could you please explain the difference between "believe" and "can believe"? (love and can love; know and can know etc) How the "can" can give the listed verbs an airy feeling? ("airy feeling" was cited from a grammar book but it was not clear enough for me) thank you.
    "Can" is not known in English as a device to give an "airy feeling". If a grammar expert writes this, he should explain it. I'd suggest you use this book as a volume of poetry, and find another grammar book.
    Apart from airiness, are you really asking about the difference between "believe" and "can believe"? You have used "can" correctly.

  3. #3
    guzhao67 is offline Junior Member
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    Smile Re: believe and can believe

    thank you for the reply. yes, I wanted to know the difference between the two. by the way, what's an airy feeling? could you be a little specific and give me an example, please? thank you again. have a nice day.

  4. #4
    Raymott's Avatar
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    Default Re: believe and can believe

    Quote Originally Posted by guzhao67 View Post
    thank you for the reply. yes, I wanted to know the difference between the two. by the way, what's an airy feeling? could you be a little specific and give me an example, please? thank you again. have a nice day.
    No, I can't tell you about "airy feelings" or their relation to "can". I thought I made this clear. I don't know what "airy feelings" are. You are the one with the Book of Spells that links "can" to "airy feelings".
    If my room was stifling hot and I opened a window, I might receive an airy feeling. But I cannot relate opening a window to using a modal verb.

    Since you've confirmed your confusion, I will accept that you want to know the difference between "believe" and "can believe".
    "believe" is a normal verb; "can" is a modal.
    If I say "I believe you did something", it means that I hold a belief that you have done it. If someone asks me if you did it, I would say: Yes.
    If I say "I can believe you did something", it means that it is possible for me to believe that you did something; or that you could have done something like that". If someone asks me if you did it, I might say "I believe she is capable of doing it, though I have no evidence."
    If, by "airiness", you mean this type of vague response, except this as example.
    Last edited by Raymott; 17-Oct-2008 at 19:04.

  5. #5
    guzhao67 is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: believe and can believe

    the question puzzled me for a long time. than you for being that specific. By the way, (excuse me for asking a stupid question) what do you mean by "I'd suggest you use this book as a volume of poetry"? In fact, i don't get the exact meaning of "volume of poetry" here? it seems to me the expression conveys a sense of humor. (whening reading "Book of Spells", i smiled as i thought i knew what you mean, but i could not get the meaning of "volume of poetry" here) could you explain,please? thank you.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: believe and can believe

    Quote Originally Posted by guzhao67 View Post
    the question puzzled me for a long time. than you for being that specific. By the way, (excuse me for asking a stupid question) what do you mean by "I'd suggest you use this book as a volume of poetry"? In fact, i don't get the exact meaning of "volume of poetry" here? it seems to me the expression conveys a sense of humor. (whening reading "Book of Spells", i smiled as i thought i knew what you mean, but i could not get the meaning of "volume of poetry" here) could you explain,please? thank you.
    Yes, I can explain again. To say that a grammatical construction such as the use of the modal "can" can give an "airy feeling" is nonsense. I was being facetious by saying that it was a poetry book or a book of spells. "Airy feeling" belongs to poetry, not grammar.
    I suggested that you tell me what an airy feeling was simply because you have the book and I don't.
    I'm glad you caught the humour. I'll add smileys this time to remove any doubt. Though it somewhat diminishes the effect.

  7. #7
    guzhao67 is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: believe and can believe

    thank you again; have a good weekend. sincerely

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