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Can/ Must

Cours gratuits > Forum > Forum anglais: Questions sur l'anglais || En bas


Can/ Must
Message de neverly26 posté le 16-07-2013 à 19:45:34 (S | E | F)

I have a question concerning the use of CAN and MUST.
During the lesson, there is an example : You cannot smoke, it is not allowed.
I do not understand why they use CAN'T and not MUSTN'T because if it is not allowed, it is forbidden so it is the modal MUST.
Could you please explain the difference?
Many thanks in advance.

Modifié par lucile83 le 16-07-2013 22:12

Réponse: Can/ Must de willy, postée le 16-07-2013 à 20:27:46 (S | E)

You can say: "you can't smoke in this room" and "you mustn't smoke in this room" with no difference of meaning.
Both sentences mean it is forbidden/you aren't allowed to smoke in that room.

Réponse: Can/ Must de sherry48, postée le 16-07-2013 à 22:34:11 (S | E)
Although they mean the same, it is more common to use 'can't' in the USA. The negative, mustn't, is also less common than must not and must.
You can't smoke here! You must not have seen the sign!

Réponse: Can/ Must de violet91, postée le 16-07-2013 à 23:23:12 (S | E)
Hello ,

I'd say in British English , can't and mustn't could mean the same for the man in the street . They can both express : forbidden to ...
But linguistically and examining them as modal auxiliaries , they are slightly different .

a ) 'You can't smoke here : it is a hospital ', said a nurse .
- 'You can't park your car , here ' the policeman said. These two people remind you of the official rules .

A sign would read 'passengers must not leave their vehicles ' while crossing the tunnel . The rule is written in the same terms as the ones used by those who decided it .
Must not ( interdiction)is stronger than can't which can also be an impossibility .
-The doctor says you must not smoke any longer, so bad the state of your lungs is ! ' He has to be strict as a ruler , as though he firmly forbade you to smoke as a protection against yourself and giving you an order .
-or else : you give yourself a moral order : I must not be a coward = I must be brave ! Come on !

Yet, it is true you can hear both modals meaning the same in ordinary circumstances .
-You are visiting friends and they have a new born baby . They'll probably say : - Oh ! Please ! You can't smoke here . ( they know you will understand )
- You must not smoke here , think of our new baby ! ...could also be said , but would show your friends more authoritative and definitely against your smoking .


Cours gratuits > Forum > Forum anglais: Questions sur l'anglais

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