Negative Contractions Which of these two is the correct negative contracted form of the verb ''can'': ''can not'' or ''cannot''? I know that ''can't'' is considered as the negative form of ''can'' which is most commonly used by English speakers. However, I have been wondering what the difference between ''can not'' (with the words 'can' and 'not' being separated from one another) and ''cannot'' (with the words 'can' and 'not' being held together) is. So, could anyone explain this matter to me? Thank you very much.
Nov 18, 2019 1:17 AM
Answers · 4
The negative of 'can' is either 'can't' or 'cannot': we don't write 'can not' in modern English. In fact, if you try to type in 'can not', most spellchecks will correct it to 'cannot'. The only time you would see this as two words is if it's imitating emphatic speech. For example, speaker might separate the two words in speech to "You can NOT do that!", putting a lot of stress on the 'not'. However, the standard, unemphatic, form here would be 'can't'.
November 18, 2019
Can not and cannot have the same meaning. However they sound slightly different when spoken. Accent on the o in cannot.
November 18, 2019
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