Hello everybody!

Today I got totally surprised when my brother came back from his English teacher and told me that I teached him wrong word - "cannot". OK, maybe not that wrong but the one that shouldn't be used!

She (his teacher) claimed that "cannot" is very slang and unofficial word and shouldn't be used, only "can't" is acceptable.

I was more than shocked when I heard this since all my teachers were saying something totally opposite during my school years.

What's the truth? Can someone help me, please? Emotion: smile


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Cannot is certainly not a slang term. It is a word which is commonly used even in formal contexts.

You don't have to worry about using it, then.



Cannot is fine, and so is can not.

Can't is informal, and should not be used in formal Englsih.

You taught ( not teached ) your brother correctly.

Here is a link to look at.

Site Hint: Check out our list of pronunciation videos.

We both attached the same link, apparently. Emotion: smile

yeah, taught, ofc Emotion: wink

well, the same I thought, I always use 'cannot' and actually pretty rarely 'can't' that's why my confusion appeared

thanks a lot!


Native English speakers use can't many times every day, and 'cannot' quite seldomly.

Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
As everybody has mentioned, "cannot" is fine. There is the old saying that there is no such word as "can't" but that's in the context of "nothing is impossible but hard".
Clive...quite seldomly.

If we are talking about formality, Clive, I don't think seldomly is a good word, particularly when

formal English is concerned. What do you think? (I hope you will notbe offended with my question Emotion: smile).

I know that formally only seldom exists.

Seldomly is in Webster.
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
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