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Murder on the Orient Express

Agatha Christie’s mystery novel Murder on the Orient Express (Dodd, Mead and Company, 1934) has been adapted into a new feature film directed by Kenneth Branagh. Branagh stars in the film as detective Hercule Poirot, along with Penélope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Judi Dench, Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Daisy Ridley.

Murder on the Orient Express

Agatha Christie’s mystery novel Murder on the Orient Express (Dodd, Mead and Company, 1934) has been adapted into a new feature film directed by Kenneth Branagh. Branagh stars in the film as detective Hercule Poirot, along with Penélope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Judi Dench, Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Daisy Ridley.

Murder on the Orient Express

Agatha Christie’s mystery novel Murder on the Orient Express (Dodd, Mead and Company, 1934) has been adapted into a new feature film directed by Kenneth Branagh. Branagh stars in the film as detective Hercule Poirot, along with Penélope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Judi Dench, Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Daisy Ridley.

Murder on the Orient Express

Agatha Christie’s mystery novel Murder on the Orient Express (Dodd, Mead and Company, 1934) has been adapted into a new feature film directed by Kenneth Branagh. Branagh stars in the film as detective Hercule Poirot, along with Penélope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Judi Dench, Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Daisy Ridley.

Murder on the Orient Express

Agatha Christie’s mystery novel Murder on the Orient Express (Dodd, Mead and Company, 1934) has been adapted into a new feature film directed by Kenneth Branagh. Branagh stars in the film as detective Hercule Poirot, along with Penélope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Judi Dench, Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Daisy Ridley.

‘Cannot,’ ‘Can Not,’ or ‘Can’t’: What’s the Difference?

A picture of a woman who is sad, representing cannot, can not, and can't.

“Cannot” and “can not” might seem like they mean the same thing, but you use them in different ways. 

‘Cannot’

“Cannot” is usually the word you want. It means “unable to” or “unwilling to” do something.

  • I cannot come to rehearsal tonight.
  • Mom said I cannot have the car tomorrow. 

‘Can Not’

“Can not” is occasionally used as an alternative to the one word “cannot,” but it shows up most often when the word “not” is just part of something that comes right after “can.” For example, use “can not,” (two words) when “not” is part of a “not only … but also” construction.

  • You can not only be in the play, but also choose your understudy.
  • You can not only have the car, but you can also get the car washed on your way home.

‘Can’t’

“Can’t,” the contraction for “cannot,” is just a more informal replacement for the one-word form of “cannot.” 

  • Mom said I can’t have the car tomorrow.

Don’t use “can’t” where you would use the two-word version.

‘Cant’

Also, when I was a professor, I saw my students write “cant”—without an apostrophe—with surprising frequency when they meant to write “can’t,” the contraction for “cannot.” I don’t know if they were using voice recognition software and it was getting it wrong or what. It was weird. I probably should have asked, but we always had bigger fish to fry.

“Cant,” without the apostrophe, is a real word, but it’s uncommon. It can refer to jargon or a private language such as one spoken by gangsters or other underworld characters, as in The cant of mobsters obscures the violence of their exploits. Cant can also refer to talking like you are begging or whining. It has a lot of meanings, but for the most part, you’re not going to use most of them.

Summary

So to sum up, “cannot” is the word you want most of the time. Only use the two-word version, “can not,” when “can” and “not” just happen to fall next to each other in a sentence. The contraction “can’t” is fine anywhere you’re comfortable using contractions, which are a little more informal than writing out all the words, and always remember to put the apostrophe in “can’t” when you are writing the contraction.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Mignon Fogarty is Grammar Girl and the founder of Quick and Dirty Tips. Check out her New York Times best-seller “Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing” and her 2018 tip-a-day calendar.

‘Cannot,’ ‘Can Not,’ or ‘Can’t’: What’s the Difference?

A picture of a woman who is sad, representing cannot, can not, and can't.

“Cannot” and “can not” might seem like they mean the same thing, but you use them in different ways. 

‘Cannot’

“Cannot” is usually the word you want. It means “unable to” or “unwilling to” do something.

  • I cannot come to rehearsal tonight.
  • Mom said I cannot have the car tomorrow. 

‘Can Not’

“Can not” is occasionally used as an alternative to the one word “cannot,” but it shows up most often when the word “not” is just part of something that comes right after “can.” For example, use “can not,” (two words) when “not” is part of a “not only … but also” construction.

  • You can not only be in the play, but also choose your understudy.
  • You can not only have the car, but you can also get the car washed on your way home.

‘Can’t’

“Can’t,” the contraction for “cannot,” is just a more informal replacement for the one-word form of “cannot.” 

  • Mom said I can’t have the car tomorrow.

Don’t use “can’t” where you would use the two-word version.

‘Cant’

Also, when I was a professor, I saw my students write “cant”—without an apostrophe—with surprising frequency when they meant to write “can’t,” the contraction for “cannot.” I don’t know if they were using voice recognition software and it was getting it wrong or what. It was weird. I probably should have asked, but we always had bigger fish to fry.

“Cant,” without the apostrophe, is a real word, but it’s uncommon. It can refer to jargon or a private language such as one spoken by gangsters or other underworld characters, as in The cant of mobsters obscures the violence of their exploits. Cant can also refer to talking like you are begging or whining. It has a lot of meanings, but for the most part, you’re not going to use most of them.

Summary

So to sum up, “cannot” is the word you want most of the time. Only use the two-word version, “can not,” when “can” and “not” just happen to fall next to each other in a sentence. The contraction “can’t” is fine anywhere you’re comfortable using contractions, which are a little more informal than writing out all the words, and always remember to put the apostrophe in “can’t” when you are writing the contraction.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Mignon Fogarty is Grammar Girl and the founder of Quick and Dirty Tips. Check out her New York Times best-seller “Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing” and her 2018 tip-a-day calendar.

‘Cannot,’ ‘Can Not,’ or ‘Can’t’: What’s the Difference?

A picture of a woman who is sad, representing cannot, can not, and can't.

“Cannot” and “can not” might seem like they mean the same thing, but you use them in different ways. 

‘Cannot’

“Cannot” is usually the word you want. It means “unable to” or “unwilling to” do something.

  • I cannot come to rehearsal tonight.
  • Mom said I cannot have the car tomorrow. 

‘Can Not’

“Can not” is occasionally used as an alternative to the one word “cannot,” but it shows up most often when the word “not” is just part of something that comes right after “can.” For example, use “can not,” (two words) when “not” is part of a “not only … but also” construction.

  • You can not only be in the play, but also choose your understudy.
  • You can not only have the car, but you can also get the car washed on your way home.

‘Can’t’

“Can’t,” the contraction for “cannot,” is just a more informal replacement for the one-word form of “cannot.” 

  • Mom said I can’t have the car tomorrow.

Don’t use “can’t” where you would use the two-word version.

‘Cant’

Also, when I was a professor, I saw my students write “cant”—without an apostrophe—with surprising frequency when they meant to write “can’t,” the contraction for “cannot.” I don’t know if they were using voice recognition software and it was getting it wrong or what. It was weird. I probably should have asked, but we always had bigger fish to fry.

“Cant,” without the apostrophe, is a real word, but it’s uncommon. It can refer to jargon or a private language such as one spoken by gangsters or other underworld characters, as in The cant of mobsters obscures the violence of their exploits. Cant can also refer to talking like you are begging or whining. It has a lot of meanings, but for the most part, you’re not going to use most of them.

Summary

So to sum up, “cannot” is the word you want most of the time. Only use the two-word version, “can not,” when “can” and “not” just happen to fall next to each other in a sentence. The contraction “can’t” is fine anywhere you’re comfortable using contractions, which are a little more informal than writing out all the words, and always remember to put the apostrophe in “can’t” when you are writing the contraction.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Mignon Fogarty is Grammar Girl and the founder of Quick and Dirty Tips. Check out her New York Times best-seller “Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing” and her 2018 tip-a-day calendar.

Rajiv Mohabir

“When I feel extra invisible in the world of American poetry I feel the need to write more. I look for vehicles able to carry my syncretic history. I take a line from Agha Shahid Ali and Kimiko Hahn and looking across the sea. Ali’s ghazal and Hahn’s zuihitsu are perfect examples of migrating a form into English and making it one’s own, kin to the original form but changed through their mediation of it. Valuable poetry does not only exist in English in the United States. I’m an immigrant and my experience is valuable. An entire universe of poetry thrums outside of this myopic country. I migrate a form into the United States based on the multilingual chutney music from the Caribbean. This music came with me, packed in my luggage. The themes and images of my poems echo their influences and take shape through the alchemy of the line.

Go ahead and try it. Make a form. Consider line length, rhythm, whether you’ll write in meter or use rhyme. How many lines will the poem have when it’s finished? Now for themes. Use what’s around you, what you have. Use the kitchen language that you’re told is not ‘proper.’ Write your broken tongue down on the page. You are not ‘broken.’ You are a wonder.”
—Rajiv Mohabir, author of The Cowherd’s Son (Tupelo Press, 2017)

Writer Photo: 
Writer Photo Credit: 
Craig Santos Perez

Rajiv Mohabir

“When I feel extra invisible in the world of American poetry I feel the need to write more. I look for vehicles able to carry my syncretic history. I take a line from Agha Shahid Ali and Kimiko Hahn and looking across the sea. Ali’s ghazal and Hahn’s zuihitsu are perfect examples of migrating a form into English and making it one’s own, kin to the original form but changed through their mediation of it. Valuable poetry does not only exist in English in the United States. I’m an immigrant and my experience is valuable. An entire universe of poetry thrums outside of this myopic country. I migrate a form into the United States based on the multilingual chutney music from the Caribbean. This music came with me, packed in my luggage. The themes and images of my poems echo their influences and take shape through the alchemy of the line.

Go ahead and try it. Make a form. Consider line length, rhythm, whether you’ll write in meter or use rhyme. How many lines will the poem have when it’s finished? Now for themes. Use what’s around you, what you have. Use the kitchen language that you’re told is not ‘proper.’ Write your broken tongue down on the page. You are not ‘broken.’ You are a wonder.”
—Rajiv Mohabir, author of The Cowherd’s Son (Tupelo Press, 2017)

Writer Photo: 
Writer Photo Credit: 
Craig Santos Perez
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