Cannot vs Can not

Subject: Cannot vs Can not
From: Beverly Parks <bparks -at- HUACHUCA-EMH1 -dot- ARMY -dot- MIL>
Date: Mon, 10 Apr 1995 07:36:57 MST

> Richard Mateosian <srm -at- C2 -dot- ORG> wrote--
> Actually, the expression "can not" never appears in correct English
> (according to my high school English teacher). Use either can't or cannot.

Never say never, Richard. In general I agree with you; "cannot"
is the preferred form

except for the rare instance when a writer wishes to emphasize
the *not*, for example, in juxtaposition to *can* statements:
"You can run and you can hide, but you can not escape me."
When *can not only* is used, the trick is to remember that
*not* is working with *only* as a conjunction; *can* is an
auxiliary that must be parallel with the rest of the statement:
"The restaurant can not only serve a delectable lasagna, but also
[can] bake [not bakes] a sinful chocolate cake."

--excerpt from _The New York
Public Library Writer's Guide
to Style and Usage_

=*= Beverly Parks =*= bparks -at- huachuca-emh1 -dot- army -dot- mil =*=
=*= "Unless otherwise stated, all comments are my own. =*=
=*= I am not representing my employer in any way." =*=

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