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    #1

    to can

    So I learned that in English, to form the full infinitive of a verb, you have to write: to + verb. So for example: to play, to walk, to do, etc. However, I have never heard anybody say: "to can". You can say "to be able to", but "to can" sounds weird. What is going on there? Does the word "can" have a full infinitive? If not, why not? And are there more verbs like that?

  1. SlickVic9000's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: to can

    (Not a Teacher)

    Unless you're talking about putting stuff into cans, then no. "To be able" is the only appropriate infinitive for "can" that I can think of.

  2. 5jj's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: to can

    One of the distinguishing features of the modal verbs (can, could, may, might, must, shall, should, will and would) is that they have no infinitive form.

  3. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: to can

    Which is why it's important to distinguish the idea of "I can tomatoes" and "I can see Russia from my house."
    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.

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