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    #1

    it can't be!

    Then she leaped for the burning house. But two women intercepted her and hauled her back. They had evidently anticipated her reaction. " You can't help them, " one said. " The hill brigands must have killed them first. " " And set the fire to hide the crime, " the other said. " But we came out before they got away, so we know the crime. We saw them hauling rolled rugs of valuables. If we had had men to pursue them? " " It ca n't be ! It ca n't be ! " Crystal screamed. But she saw the blaze, and knew the neighbors and servants weren't lying. They all knew and liked Annai and her children. None of them were as close to the family as Crystal, so they were more objective about it, but they were clearly appalled. When they were sure that Crystal wouldn't charge the fire again, they let her go. She collapsed to the ground, sobbing. " I should have been...

    I don't quite understand the sentence 'It can't be!'. It can't be what?
    In what situation can we use this short sentence?

    Could I ask native speakers to help me please? Thank you in advance.

  1. Raymott's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: it can't be!

    Quote Originally Posted by joham View Post
    Then she leaped for the burning house. But two women intercepted her and hauled her back. They had evidently anticipated her reaction. " You can't help them, " one said. " The hill brigands must have killed them first. " " And set the fire to hide the crime, " the other said. " But we came out before they got away, so we know the crime. We saw them hauling rolled rugs of valuables. If we had had men to pursue them? " " It ca n't be ! It ca n't be ! " Crystal screamed. But she saw the blaze, and knew the neighbors and servants weren't lying. They all knew and liked Annai and her children. None of them were as close to the family as Crystal, so they were more objective about it, but they were clearly appalled. When they were sure that Crystal wouldn't charge the fire again, they let her go. She collapsed to the ground, sobbing. " I should have been...

    I don't quite understand the sentence 'It can't be!'. It can't be what?
    In what situation can we use this short sentence?

    Could I ask native speakers to help me please? Thank you in advance.
    It can't be. It can't be happening. It can't be true. But "happening/true" aren't necessary.
    Things which exist are. Things that don't exist aren't.
    Crystal cannot believe that what is, is. That's why she says "It can't be!"

    Of course there are less dramatic ways of using it.
    A: 2+2 = 5
    B: It can't be. 2+2 = 4, and 4 isn't 5.

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