1. zaffy
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    zaffy Contributing Member

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    can you, can't you, answer this?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by zaffy, Feb 22, 2011.

    Now that I have raised the issue of can't on another thread, I would like to open it as an independent discussion.
    Someone suggested I did not know what I was talking about and since researching it on the internet, I think they are probably correct.

    Does anyone have the answer to the differences between ...

    can not - cannot - cant - can't ?
     
  2. Youniquee
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    Youniquee (◡‿◡✿) Contributor

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    Erm, never heard of Can not
    Can't is the shortened version of cannot
    cant <- isn't correct..I think
    Hoped that helped..
     
  3. Dandroid
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    Dandroid Senior Member

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    cant can be a short form for 'cantation' or a specialized language....like pig latin
     
  4. Ellipse
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    Ellipse Contributing Member Contributor

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    Can not and cannot are the same word. They have the same meaning. They just removed the space between the two words to shorten it into a compound word. Cannot is the word normally used because...why make it longer by including the extra space?

    Can't is the contraction for cannot. Same meaning. Just a shortened form of the word.

    Cant is a completely different word. Here are some definitions courtesy of dictionary.com:

    -noun
    1. insincere, especially conventional expressions of enthusiasm for high ideals, goodness, or piety.
    2. the private language of the underworld.
    3. the phraseology peculiar to a particular class, party, profession, etc.: the cant of the fashion industry.
    4. whining or singsong speech, especially of beggars.

    -verb
    5. to talk hypocritically.
    6. to speak in the whining or singsong tone of a beggar; beg.
     
  5. FindJoyInLife
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    FindJoyInLife New Member

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    -Cannot and can not: These two mean the same thing (as mentioned by several others above).

    -Can't: The contraction of the above words, traditionally you should not use the contraction in most of your formal nonfiction writing.

    -Cant: Unrelated to the above two and would be considered grammatically incorrect if you were trying to use it as "can not".

    Hope this helps
     
  6. Writing in the Mist
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    Writing in the Mist Member

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    In the mist, duh.


    Second that. Very good explanation Ellipse.
     
  7. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    I agree with the above - well put Ellipse.

    Another meaning for cant - a slope or tilt.
     
  8. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    Aha! I found another one in my dictionary:

    Scot. and northern English dialect: Lusty, merry, hearty.

    :D


    ... not that it's a game or anything :p
     
  9. SeverinR
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    SeverinR Contributing Member

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    Wow, didn't know cant had so many definitions. I knew it as a special (limited)language.
     

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