Can't we not get along?

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Lorenzogreen

Member
Italian-Italy
Hello. I was watching a TV show and a woman said 'Can't we not get along?' . I even put the subtitles on so I didn't hear wrong. I was wondering whether it was a mistake or maybe it's a different meaning? Thanks in advance.
 
  • srk

    Senior Member
    English - US
    I'm sure you know that it should be either "Can't we get along?" or "Can we not get along?"

    I'm surprised that it was said the way you heard it and as it appeared in the subtitles. However, "can" pronounced clearly can be mistaken for "can't." If you tell someone "I can go," and say it clearly, they may well respond with "Why not?" They expect to hear "I kin go" with a glottal stop between "I" and "kin." I'm suggesting that both you and the people who supplied the subtitles could have heard it wrong.

    Maybe not. Please look at this thread, which discusses some "redundant negatives" meant as "positives." They may be double negatives, but that's not the issue. I've never heard the question you have quoted. It might belong to this special class. (I'm really not convinced. Maybe the woman just misspoke..)
     
    Last edited:

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    Native English speakers can speak perfect English some of the time, and some sort of English all the time, but they cannot speak perfect English all the time. ;)
     

    Lorenzogreen

    Member
    Italian-Italy
    Well there were a lot of people fighting and this woman said 'can't we not get along?' . But is it possible that the people who supplied the subtitles just misspelled? Because 'can't' does sound like 'can' sometimes...
     
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