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Dear all,

I would like to know whether the following sentences are correct. If yes, kindly tell me their meaning.

1) I cannot but speak English.

2) I could not but speak English.


Thank you.

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cat navy 425I would like to know whether the following sentences are correct.

They are correct but very old-fashioned. You can use them in conversation after scientists invent a time machine so you can travel back to the 18th century. Emotion: smile

cat navy 4251) I cannot but speak English.

I must speak English; I cannot prevent myself from speaking English; In this situation I feel duty-bound to speak English.

cat navy 4252) I could not but speak English.

The same as 1), but in the past.

I had to speak English; I could not prevent myself from speaking English; In that situation I felt duty-bound to speak English.


Now that you know a little of the history of these expressions, you can pretty much forget about them. You can return to this post to review their meaning if you ever run across them in something written a very long time ago. Emotion: wink

CJ


I was too hasty in my evaluation of "cannot but". I did find examples of it in modern-day writing, so it's not so old-fashioned as I imagined.

CJ

Comments  
CJ Sir, I understand. Thanks a lot.