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Is “Can Not” Different From “Cannot”?

What are some of the Differences between “Can Not” vs “Cannot”?

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Most individuals are confused with the difference between the terms “cannot” and “can not”. Actually a lot of dictionaries recognize the word “cannot” more than “can not” but the fact remains that they have respective meanings when applied in varied sentences. Thus, let’s further differentiate them below.

Using the word “cannot” in a sentence or a phrse often shows that the action can never be done by an individual unless he or she has some magical powers.


I CANNOT physically travel back in time.
She CANNOT swim to the deepest part of ocean without any kind of gear.
You CANNO T do 10 things at the same time.

As you can see, the three sentences above are stating actions that are completely impossible to do.

The word “can not” on the other hand, is used in a sentence if the writer wants to give his or her readers the impression that a certain action should never be done or else, great consequences would occur.


You CAN NOT steal money from your mother’s wallet.
You CAN NOT skip your oral exams.
You CAN NOT forge your teacher’s signature.

Well, you may still choose to forge your teacher’s signature, skip your oral exams and steal money from your mother but those things are not likely to happen because of the added emphasis showcased by the word “cannot” in the three sentences above.

Thus, unless you want to emphasize the consequences of a certain action, then you can use the word “cannot” instead of its separated version. You can even apply its contracted form “can’t” for you not to get confused with the two words any longer. However, you might consider using “can’t” in informal letters only for writing a formal complaint would most likely require you to omit contracted words in your final output.

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