Definition of cannot in English:

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Pronunciation: /kəˈnät/
Pronunciation: /ˈkanˌät/


Can not.
Example sentences
  • Chemistry is one of those things that just cannot be planned for when casting a film.
  • At present, if you draw a company pension you cannot go back to work for that company.
  • The workload in Bradford is so great that it cannot take on any new clients at present.


Both the one-word form cannot and the two-word form can not are acceptable, but cannot is more common (in the Oxford English Corpus, three times as common). The two-word form is better only in a construction in which not is part of a set phrase, such as ‘not only ... but (also)’: Paul can not only sing well, but he also paints brilliantly.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: can·not

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