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    #1

    Cannot vs can not

    Hi,
    As you know, many people would claim that "can not" is correct as it is another form of "cannot". What's the reason that almost all educated people insist on using "cannot"? (I would personally lean towards using "cannot" inasmuch as using "can not" runs me the risk of looking uneducated. However, I am curious to know why most of our dictionaries define "cannot" as: another form of "can not"? I have also seen that "can not" is considered as the ordinary modern way of writing "cannot". I would be happy If you could offer a little clarification.

    Thanks.

  1. Raymott's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Cannot vs can not

    "Can not" doesn't worry me at all. I didn't know it was supposed to be a problem until I came here, and I've been writing good Australian English for 50+ years. No other modal verb is combined with 'not'.
    Others obviously have a different opinion.

  2. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Cannot vs can not

    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew Wai View Post
    Some people like to write "can not", I cannot figure out whether it is grammatical.
    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork View Post
    It is grammatical. We normally write it with two words when we want to emphasize the "not", as one can do more easily in speech.
    Not a teacher.

  3. konungursvia's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Cannot vs can not

    I have never seen it separated like that in print, indicating it is not standard.

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    #5

    Re: Cannot vs can not

    Read many similar threads on this topic on this page — beginning at the fourth entry.

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