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    #1

    epistemic CAN

    To make things clear, I split this thread from a previous post. Thanks to all that were invloved.
    ---------------------------------------------
    1. I can be Henz.
    2. There can be some cake left. I'll go and look.
    3. It can rain this afternoon.
    They are obviously specific instances of epistemic meanings, aren't they?

    I read of two points of view going against each other on that issue:
    1. We can use CAN in affirmative sentences when we talk about a more general possibility of something happening rather than the possibility of something happening in a particular situation.
    2. This rule is out of date and useless.


    What do you think of the three topic sentences(1 doesn't make much sense,though.) and the two opposite points of view?


    Many thanks in advance.
    Last edited by henz988; 27-May-2009 at 04:31. Reason: ------> 1 doesn't make much sense,though

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    #2

    Re: epistemic CAN

    You may want to take a look here, page 187.

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    #3

    Re: epistemic CAN

    The first would work IMO if you felt suited and wanted to play the role of Henz in a play. The others don't work for me. (British English speaker)

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    #4

    Re: epistemic CAN

    Thank you both for your time.

    I see the rule still dominates.

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    #5

    Re: epistemic CAN

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    The first would work IMO if you felt suited and wanted to play the role of Henz in a play. The others don't work for me. (British English speaker)
    Agreed.

    #3 is inherently unacceptable (on account of the definite time adverbial), and #2 contextually absurd.

    Note, however, that the 'can' of #1 would refer specifically to ability rather than to mere abstract possibility.

    Philo

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