English language peeves

Talk about things that are not necessarily related to music or the guitar.
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Denian Arcoleo
Composer
Posts: 6068
Joined: Tue Jul 25, 2006 3:39 pm
Location: Somerset, England

Re: English language peeves

Post by Denian Arcoleo » Wed Nov 01, 2017 10:50 pm

Well, using can't in place of mustn't is even more confusing!

Rasputin
Posts: 533
Joined: Fri May 12, 2017 12:25 pm

Re: English language peeves

Post by Rasputin » Wed Nov 01, 2017 11:09 pm

Mmm dunno, imagine announcing an intention to do something radical and possibly dangerous... mightn't your friends and family say 'no!! you can't do that!!'? Would you take this to mean that you physically couldn't do it? I think they would be saying you mustn't / it isn't a good idea / it's too risky. In fact I think 'can't' is quite often used to mean 'mustn't', and it doesn't seem to cause confusion.

Obviously, it could still be that people who say you can't underestimate X are just getting it backwards...

Wuuthrad
Posts: 63
Joined: Sat Oct 07, 2017 9:16 pm
Location: USA

Re: English language peeves

Post by Wuuthrad » Wed Nov 01, 2017 11:53 pm

I thought it's commonly understood that saying someone can't do something, in this context, is a figure of speech which doesn't mean you actually cannot do it; it's more like you actually can do that, but implies that to do so would be innefectual, ineffective or uncool. Maybe along the lines of double negatives or something?

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