Results 1 to 4 of 4
  1. #1
    non_e_giusto is offline Newbie
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Interested in Language
      • Native Language:
      • Dutch
      • Home Country:
      • Netherlands
      • Current Location:
      • Netherlands
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Posts
    15

    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?

  2. #2
    SlickVic9000's Avatar
    SlickVic9000 is offline Senior Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    1,003

    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.

  3. #3
    5jj's Avatar
    5jj is online now VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Retired English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • Czech Republic
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    28,854

    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.

  4. #4
    Barb_D's Avatar
    Barb_D is offline Moderator
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    19,049

    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.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •