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  1. #1
    joham is offline Key Member
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    can know

    None of my dictionaries contains the use of 'can know', so I'm not familiar with it. Does it mean 'know' or ' can learn' or anything else?

    This sentence comes from BNC:
    Firstly, you can know that you are an OK person because you are the most fantastically designed, ...

    Thank you in advance.

  2. #2
    Anglika is offline No Longer With Us
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    Re: can know

    Without more context - you are aware that.....

  3. #3
    jctgf is offline Key Member
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    Re: can know

    i would like to follow up this thread.
    thanks.

  4. #4
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    Re: can know

    Assuming this were a report on some one who's reading it, then can know is acceptable - as if the examiner is directly talking to the person. But it's better to say Firstly, you must/should know...

    Can/Could means it may or may not happen. And this doesn't seem to be the case in this sentence (the assessor very much knows what is being written there)

  5. #5
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    engee30 is offline Key Member
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    Re: can know

    Quote Originally Posted by joham View Post
    None of my dictionaries contains the use of 'can know', so I'm not familiar with it. Does it mean 'know' or ' can learn' or anything else?

    This sentence comes from BNC:
    Firstly, you can know that you are an OK person because you are the most fantastically designed, ...

    Thank you in advance.
    The modal can is often used with the so-called verbs of thinking (or verbs of the mind), so instead of saying ...you know... you can say ...you can know... (meaning roughly the same).

  6. #6
    jctgf is offline Key Member
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    Re: can know

    Quote Originally Posted by engee30 View Post
    The modal can is often used with the so-called verbs of thinking (or verbs of the mind), so instead of saying ...you know... you can say ...you can know... (meaning roughly the same).
    hi,
    extremely interesting!
    I wouldn't bet a single dime on it.
    how common is this usage?
    can I say "you may know" instead of it?
    thanks.

  7. #7
    engee30's Avatar
    engee30 is offline Key Member
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    Cool Re: can know

    Quote Originally Posted by jctgf View Post
    hi,
    extremely interesting!
    I wouldn't bet a single dime on it.
    how common is this usage?
    can I say "you may know" instead of it?
    thanks.
    No way! That usage of can is related to the ability of the mind only!
    Look at Anglika's first post in this thread:
    https://www.usingenglish.com/forum/267721-post2.html

    You may know... = Perhaps you know.../Maybe you know...

  8. #8
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    stuartnz is offline Senior Member
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    Re: can know

    Quote Originally Posted by engee30 View Post
    No way! That usage of can is related to the ability of the mind only!
    Look at Anglika's first post in this thread.

    You may know... = Perhaps you know.../Maybe you know...

    I'm not a teacher, but I would say that in the context of the original quote "you may know" would fit almost as well as as "you can know".

    "you can know that you are an OK person because you are the most fantastically designed, ..."

    "you may know that you are an OK person because you are the most fantastically designed, ..."

    As a non-teacher, I don't know the technical framework, but I hear the possibility of both similarity and difference. It would not be out of the question for someone to use "you may know" in this context. I would parse the phrase saying: "you can (or may) have confidence that" or "you can (may) rest assured that"

  9. #9
    engee30's Avatar
    engee30 is offline Key Member
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    Re: can know

    I am neither a native speaker of English nor a teacher, but, to my way of thinking and to my knowledge, the modal can cannot be substituted with may in this case, with the same meaning remained.

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