Tag Archives: rants

Pedantique-Ryter rants on “It Cannot Continue”

  1. Beware the Apostrofly! says Pedantique-Ryter
  2. Pedantique-Ryter: English Daftisms
  3. Pedantique-Ryter: who or whom?
  4. Pedantique-Ryter: may or might?
  5. Pedantique-Ryter: Exclamation Marks Shriek
  6. Pedantique-Ryter: Less is More. Or Is It Fewer?
  7. Halloween imports we could do without? A Damely rant
  8. Pedantique-Ryter : Between You and I? Better than me?
  9. Right word : wrong place? Pedantique-Ryter rants
  10. Pedantique-Ryter : changing meanings, right and wrong
  11. Pedantique-Ryter: Could Have or Could Of?
  12. Pedantique-Ryter rants about incomprehensible words
  13. Incoherent English : a Pedantique-Ryter Rant
  14. Criteria for Plural Phenomenon : Pedantique-Ryter rants
  15. Clarity : Language Use and Misuse : Pedantique-Ryter rants
  16. Back ranting: Pedantique-Ryter leads the cavalry charge
  17. Pedantique-Ryter rants on “It Cannot Continue”

lightning in stormy weatherThe front pages thunder:

This [insert rant-worthy issue of choice] is an utter disgrace. It cannot continue.

How many times have you read an opinion like that, whether on front pages or editorial columns?
And what is wrong with it?

Well, the obvious answer to the second sentence—It cannot continue—is a pantomime-style one.
Oh yes it can!
What’s more, it usually does. Even in the worst cases, like war crimes and invasions.

The meaning of “can”

Female climber clinging to the edge. She can.The most common meaning of the modal verb “can” is “to be able to”. Hence it is obvious that “cannot” means “be unable to”.

And saying a disgrace “cannot continue” implies that it is impossible for it to continue, that it will be somehow stopped.
(Possibly by magic?) Continue reading