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    #1

    Can we say "can't like"?

    A few days ago, I asked about the sentence below taken from the Simon-Schuster Grammar:
    Eric ate everything in the plate except the pickle. He mustn't like pickles.
    I still don't understand why dictionaries such as CAMBRIDGE, LONGMAN, OXFORD, AMERICA'S HERITAGE don't have this usage of mustn't. And I'd like very much to know if we can say:
    Eric ate everything in the plate except the pickle. He can't like pickles.

    I was wondering if you could help me. Thank you in advance.

  1. Amigos4's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Can we say "can't like"?

    Quote Originally Posted by joham View Post
    A few days ago, I asked about the sentence below taken from the Simon-Schuster Grammar:
    Eric ate everything in the plate except the pickle. He mustn't like pickles.
    I still don't understand why dictionaries such as CAMBRIDGE, LONGMAN, OXFORD, AMERICA'S HERITAGE don't have this usage of mustn't. And I'd like very much to know if we can say:
    Eric ate everything in the plate except the pickle. He can't like pickles.

    I was wondering if you could help me. Thank you in advance.
    Hi, Joham!

    Simply stated, 'mustn't' is a difficult word to say. It is not a word that Americans say often. I, personally, think the word looks odd when written. Because of this, I would not use the contraction for must not. I would say, 'Eric must not like pickles.'

    "He can't like pickles' is incorrect. Is he incapable of liking pickles? Or, is it a matter of simply not liking the taste of pickles?

    We eat everything 'on' our plates because a plate does not have an inside section. But, we can eat everything 'in' our lunch box because a lunch box does have an inside section under the cover. Eric ate everything in his lunch box.

    Does this answer your question?

    Cheers,
    Amigos4

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    #3

    Re: Can we say "can't like"?

    Hello,

    Amigos4 I have a question refering to the sentence :

    "Eric must not like pickles."

    I don't understand it .He's forbidden to like pickles?

    Thanks


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    #4

    Re: Can we say "can't like"?

    "he mustn't like" does mean he is forbidden to and the sentence itself is the prohibition - the speakers issues the prohibition, this is the so called internal obligation. "he can't like pickles" means it is impossible, improbable that he likes pickles (eg. no one in his family does and neither does he, or he has never liked pickles as far as I know, so it is impossible for him to have changed his pickle taste)

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    #5

    Re: Can we say "can't like"?

    Hi
    A quick answer to this question is that because Eric has eaten everything on his plate except the pickle, 'he mustn't like pickles' means that the observer thinks that he doesn't like them! So you can say 'he doesn't like pickles' instead.
    Hope this helps!

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    #6

    Re: Can we say "can't like"?

    Thanks ffboruta, thanks Mimian,

    Then could I rephrase it as :

    It must be that he doesn't like pickles.


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    #7

    Re: Can we say "can't like"?

    Quote Originally Posted by velimir View Post
    Thanks ffboruta, thanks Mimian,

    Then could I rephrase it as :

    It must be that he doesn't like pickles.

    Yes, that would be a very good restatement of the original. Also, there is no reason that can't like cannot be used in a sentence. You can't like every person you meet or every food you taste.

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    #8

    Re: Can we say "can't like"?

    Thanks a lot Mykwyner . I'm glad I was right

    Velimir

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    #9

    Re: Can we say "can't like"?

    Dear Amigos4,
    Thank you for your answers. I'm sorry I didn't know in American English mustn't must be spelt as must not. But what I'd like very much to know is why Cambridge, Longman, Oxford, America's Heiitage dictionaries don't enter this usage of "must not" (meaning cannot like in "Eric ate everything on his plate except the pickle. He must not like pickles.") and why in all examinations this "must not" is treated as wrong while "cannot" is right:

    He started out very late. He cannot have arrived by now. (We are always told in this sentence Must Not is the wrong choice.)

    In making logical conclusions, America's Simon-Schuster Grammar says: Eric ate everything on his plate except the pickle. He must not like pickles. But the dictionaries says to use cannot. This is strange! Why?

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