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    #1

    Some obscure words

    Hello there,

    How are you doing guys..

    I have a little text that I need your help in.

    The text:
    "...the answer is almost certainly no, but no one can prove it. Our next two theorems can be viewed as steps toward the answer."

    1) What exactly does the phrasal "almost certainly" mean ?

    2) He says "no one can prove it", then he says "...steps toward the answer" which is, in fact, contrariety and makes no-sense, so, might the modal "can" sometimes mean "could" [the past tense], or is it an incorrect usage ?

    Thanks in advance.


    Reason for editing: I want to know what the phrasal "Almost certainly" mean, not "certainly no".
    Last edited by MoHammaD_93; 10-Dec-2009 at 21:56.

  1. euncu's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Some obscure words

    "Certainly no" is no phrase at all. It is "certainly" and "no" together.Though using "almost" before "certainly" makes me think that the one who says so is not sure about what he/she is talking about.

    Sometimes in daily life ,what people says doesn't have to make sence(it is called freedom of speech).So, actually your second question is not associated with English itself as you did conceive the contradiction in the text.

  2. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Some obscure words

    The key is not to think of "certainly no" but "almost certainly."

    It means it's a very high probability that the answer is "no." The person can't say it's surely (certainly) "no" but it's almost certain that it is.

    The other part is that once you have resolved the issues arising from these theorems, you'll be closer to knowing, because you will have resolved some parts of the uncertainty.

    (I'm sure you meant it in jest, but you do know that's not really what "Freedom of Speech" means, right?)
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  3. euncu's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Some obscure words

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    (I'm sure you meant it in jest, but you do know that's not really what "Freedom of Speech" means, right?)
    It'd have been more correct if I had said it as "a part of Freedom of Speech".
    Though I expressed it in a humourous way, don't you think that it would be
    a very boring world where people are kept in distress by some language/logic cops not to make a grammatical or logical mistake when speaking.

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    #5

    Re: Some obscure words

    Yes, you're right people, I meant "almost certainly", but after I'd written the text, I mis-copied the phrasal, and copied "certainly no" instead :).

    @ Barb_D
    @ euncu

    Thank you very much for answering.

    Regarding the freedom of speech, and to make sure I've comprehended the answer properly.. there's [Y/N] Question!: "In freedom of speech, can we mean the modal "could" by the modal "can"?

    Thank you again.

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    #6

    Re: Some obscure words

    UP
    UP
    UP

  4. euncu's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: Some obscure words

    Quote Originally Posted by MoHammaD_93 View Post
    Question!: "In freedom of speech, can we mean the modal "could" by the modal "can"?
    I think you answered it already by starting your question with "can".As far as I know, you shouldn't use could instead of can for the present (for ability/possibility) . And in sciences,it is customary to use the simple present tense.

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