# can't

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#### navi tasan

##### Key Member
Which is correct:
1-The sea can't get stormy tomorrow.
2-The sea couldn't get stormy tomorrow.

Meaning: it is impossible that the sea should get stormy tomorrow.

Staff member
1

#### navi tasan

##### Key Member
Thanks Tdol.
2 did sound funny to me too, but on the other hand, if I've understood this correctly
3-"The sea could get stormy tomorrow."
is correct;
and:
4-"The sea can get stormy tomorrow."
is not.
Am I right?

#### Tdol

##### Editor, UsingEnglish.com
Staff member
There's a difference between the positive and the negative.;-)

#### Casiopea

##### VIP Member
navi tasan said:
Which is correct:
1-The sea can't get stormy tomorrow.
2-The sea couldn't get stormy tomorrow.

Meaning: it is impossible that the sea should get stormy tomorrow.

I agree with tdol's response. What about removing the negative?

The sea can (has the potential to) get stormy.
The sea could (possibly) get stormy.

All the best,

#### navi tasan

##### Key Member
Thanks Cas,
That is my problem. It seems that:
1-That can't happen.
is more natural than:
2-That couldn't happen.
(In 2, it seems to me that there is a condition implied, that couldn't happen even if...)

On the other hand when you are speaking about the possibility of a specific event in the future, you use "could":
3-The sea can get stormy.
(general possibility, "has the potential to")
but would you say:
4-"The sea can get stormy tomorrow."?
I think most NESs prefer:
5-The sea could get stormy tomorrow.

While:
6-The sea couldn't get stormy tomorrow.
is not correct. I suppose because there can be no implied condition (even if it tried!!).

This is my analysis up to this point. I'd appreciate your criticisms.
Cheers

#### Casiopea

##### VIP Member
That is my problem. It seems that 1- is more natural than 2-:

1-That can't happen.
2-That couldn't happen.

could seems to imply a condition: that couldn't happen even if....

But, there's also, That couldn't possibly happen (i.e. negative form of potential possibility) vs That can't possibly happen (i.e. it wouldn't be permitted). :wink:

navi said:
On the other hand when you are speaking about the possibility of a specific event in the future, you use "could":

3-The sea can get stormy.
(general possibility, "has the potential to")
but would you say:
4-"The sea can get stormy tomorrow."?
I think most NESs prefer:
5-The sea could get stormy tomorrow.

I agree with you on 3-. Moreover, in that context, "can" is synonymous with "does": The sea does, in fact, get stormy (at times).

On 4-, I can also get the reading: The sea will, in fact, get stormy tomorrow.

While:
6-The sea couldn't get stormy tomorrow.
is not correct. I suppose because there can be no implied condition (even if it tried!!).

This is my analysis up to this point. I'd appreciate your criticisms.
Cheers

On 6-, I get the reading: The sea couldn't possibly get stormy tomorrow.

All the best,

#### navi tasan

##### Key Member
Thanks a lot Cas,
A couple of more questions if I may (I hope I am not getting on your nerves with this):
As regards:
That can't happen.
you say it wouldn't be permitted to happen. There is no doubt that the sentence can have that meaning, but can't it simply mean: That is impossible. (logically or factually or...)?

As for "The sea can get stormy tomorrow.", you say:

On 4-, I can also get the reading: The sea will, in fact, get stormy tomorrow.

It seems to me that the person who thinks the sea will definitely get stormy must have a good reason to use "can" and I suppose the reason is either that he wants to be polite when he is contradicting someone else, or that he is being ironic, or something of the sort. Am I right?

And all the best to you too.

#### Casiopea

##### VIP Member
navi tasan said:
Thanks a lot Cas,
A couple of more questions if I may (I hope I am not getting on your nerves with this):
As regards:
That can't happen.
you say it wouldn't be permitted to happen. There is no doubt that the sentence can have that meaning, but can't it simply mean: That is impossible. (logically or factually or...)?

I agree. That's where context comes in handy.

As for "The sea can get stormy tomorrow.", you say:

On 4-, I can also get the reading: The sea will, in fact, get stormy tomorrow.

It seems to me that the person who thinks the sea will definitely get stormy must have a good reason to use "can" and I suppose the reason is either that he wants to be polite when he is contradicting someone else, or that he is being ironic, or something of the sort. Am I right?

I agree, again. Context is important.

And all the best to you too.

That's kind of you. Thank you.

#### navi tasan

##### Key Member
I am the one who has to do the thanking. :shock:
All the best. :wink:
(As you see, I can't put smilies on my posts. I have to do everything with words!! So now, you know how important grammar is to me!!)

#### Tdol

##### Editor, UsingEnglish.com
Staff member
Why can'tyou do smileys? :lol:

#### navi tasan

##### Key Member
I have been condemned to use words and words alone!! I have become like a character in a novel!!

I don't know Tdol. I click on them and this is an example of what I get

:shock:

Maybe I am not doing the right thing? I just click on them. It's no big deal though. It's OK. I mean I come here for more important things. Smilies are cute, but then isn't seeing my :shock: just fabulous? I leave a lot more to the imagination. It's poetic!!

#### Tdol

##### Editor, UsingEnglish.com
Staff member
:shock!!!:
:lol:

I suppose there are more important issues on earth than s,ileys, like, err... ;-)

#### Casiopea

##### VIP Member
navi tasan said:
I have been condemned to use words and words alone!! I have become like a character in a novel!!

I don't know Tdol. I click on them and this is an example of what I get

:shock:

Maybe I am not doing the right thing? I just click on them. It's no big deal though. It's OK. I mean I come here for more important things. Smilies are cute, but then isn't seeing my :shock: just fabulous? I leave a lot more to the imagination. It's poetic!!

#### navi tasan

##### Key Member
Thanks Cas,
When you quote me the pictures develop!!
It's like asking to borrow somebody's face!
Could I have your face just for a second to show this guy that I find what he said funny!!
I'd rather borrow your knowledge of the English language though. The good thing about knowledge is that you multiply it by sharing it (someone else must have said that before, which means I have learnt it somewhere!! Which proves that it is true... Wish I had invented it though).
In any case, don't worry about the smilies (why don't we call them shockies and laughies and (Tdol's favorites) winkies ?).
Cheers!!

#### Casiopea

##### VIP Member
navi tasan said:
Thanks Cas,
When you quote me the pictures develop!!
It's like asking to borrow somebody's face!
Could I have your face just for a second to show this guy that I find what he said funny!!
I'd rather borrow your knowledge of the English language though. The good thing about knowledge is that you multiply it by sharing it (someone else must have said that before, which means I have learnt it somewhere!! Which proves that it is true... Wish I had invented it though).
In any case, don't worry about the smilies (why don't we call them shockies and laughies and (Tdol's favorites) winkies ?).
Cheers!!

Hey, , try this: when you reply to a post, at the bottom of that window, there're 5 boxes:

Disable HTML in this post
Disable BBCode in this post
Disable Smilies in this post
Attach signature (signatures can be changed in profile)
Notify me when a reply is posted

Note the one in bold. Don't check it. Leave it blank. Also, if you go to your "profile", there may be a similar box there too. Look and see.

All the best,

#### Tdol

##### Editor, UsingEnglish.com
Staff member
Well spotted, Cas. ;-)

#### navi tasan

##### Key Member
Let's see. Is it going to be or :shock: or ?

PS. It worked!!! It worked!! Thanks Cas, it was the "Disable Smilies in this post". It was on. Now it works. I didn't check my profile. I don't think I have to.
From now on, it's going to be smilies left and right!!
You have a lot of :idea:
I am :?:
And Tdol is :wink:
I'd rather be than !
I had to think of this myself and I am a little
I have always been :?
From now on i'll try to be a little more 8)

I did a spell check and the machine told me my faces were wrong!! Just kidding!

#### Casiopea

##### VIP Member
navi said:
I did a spell check and the machine told me my faces were wrong!! Just kidding!

:lol: :lol: :lol: | :lol: :lol: :lol:
:lol: :lol: :lol: | :lol: :lol: :lol:
:lol: :lol: :lol: | :lol: :lol: :lol:

#### navi tasan

##### Key Member
As Tdol would say: :wink:

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