TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
Subject:Re: cannot vs. can not From:Chris Kowalchuk <chris -at- BDK -dot- NET> Date:Tue, 11 May 1999 18:04:39 -0400
Can not, cannot, can't.
It's not a "right or wrong" thing, just a formality thing. If you have a
house rule against contractions of any kind (see that other thread
raging right now), then you have an easy solution, and can revert to
"can not". I think the "cannot" spelling, (perfectly acceptable in most
general writing since long before I can remember) is a nod in the
direction of typical speach patterns where no pause at all occurs
between the two words (we just ride that "n" right on into the "ot").
So, you will probably have to settle your dispute by some sort of
contest, or duel, because I don't think you are going to find an
authoritative answer. :-)