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    • Join Date: Mar 2007
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    #1

    I can't really/ I really can't

    I have always been confused between:

    1. I can't really do it.
    2. I really can't do it.

    My guess of the meanings:

    1. I am not able to do it well.
    2. I am not able to do it at all.

  1. stuartnz's Avatar
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      • New Zealand
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    • Join Date: Mar 2008
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    #2

    Re: I can't really/ I really can't

    Quote Originally Posted by J_Caesar View Post
    I have always been confused between:

    1. I can't really do it.
    2. I really can't do it.

    My guess of the meanings:

    1. I am not able to do it well.
    2. I am not able to do it at all.

    (not a professional teacher). That's a pretty good summary.

    I can't really give you any time, but if you're quick I might be able to squeeze you in.

    I really can't give you any time, you'll have to come back later.

    "can't really" indicates a reluctance, perhaps a difficulty or an impediment to accomplishing the action being discussed, "really can't" means "absolutely not", "not at all", "in no way", etc. At least, that's the usage here in NZ.

  2. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    • Join Date: Apr 2008
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    #3

    Re: I can't really/ I really can't

    Quote Originally Posted by stuartnz View Post
    (not a professional teacher). That's a pretty good summary.

    I can't really give you any time, but if you're quick I might be able to squeeze you in.

    I really can't give you any time, you'll have to come back later.

    "can't really" indicates a reluctance, perhaps a difficulty or an impediment to accomplishing the action being discussed, "really can't" means "absolutely not", "not at all", "in no way", etc. At least, that's the usage here in NZ.
    That's the way that I would use it as well.

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