Wiktionary says that нельзя is impersonal and invariable, and that it is the antonym of мо́жно, among other things.
it is impossible (perfective aspect), one cannot, you can't
it is prohibited, it is forbidden, it is not allowed, one must not
one can, one may
мне мо́жно ― I may
it is possible
как мо́жно лу́чше ― in the best way possible
как мо́жно скоре́е ― as soon as possible
We had two verbs "уметь = to be able (physically)" and "может = to have permission".
Which of these is "нельзя" the opposite of?
That is, does "нельзя" mean I am physically not able (to walk since I have no legs, say) or does I mean that I am forbidden (by the law, for example).
"Мне нельзя" means I'm not allowed to do something - by law, by rule, by Mom, by my doctor, etc. "Мне нельзя пить молоко" may be said by a person with cow milk protein intolerance, for example.
If you can't walk because you have no legs, that would be "Я не могу ходить". The same is if you are temporary too weak to walk.
If a child has legs, but is just too young to walk, you say "Ребёнок не умеет ходить". The same is with all the other cases when you are physically able to do something, but don't have the skill, like with swimming: Я не умею плавать.
I think that уметь has to do with having the skill to do something, and nothing to do with physical. For that, you would use the verb мочь. That is how I understood it, can anyone confirm this? I saw Flint 72's comment and it made me doubt this since no one said anything about the уметь / physical portion of the comment. Am I missing something? Thanks!
Why was it then marked as a correct answer in other questions in the section? There are further explanations on the issue here, for example: http://www.dailywritingtips.com/cannot-or-can-not/
I've had that problem as well - an answer that was right in one place isn't in the other. I suppose that stuff will get fixed eventually :)
I don't know why people are downvoting my answer though. Even if I was wrong that it isn't "always" contracted, people still don't write "can not", except in the exceptions that your link mentions.
Apparently Wiktionary states that можно and нельзя are opposites. https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/%D0%BC%D0%BE%D0%B6%D0%BD%D0%BE
You could say "Я не могу пить молоко." But you shouldn't, because it sounds odd. It implies that there is something wrong with you preventing you from being able to drink the milk. Like maybe you have olive oil all over your hands and can't physically pick up the glass. Best to stick with мне нельзя.
That is an odd English sentence which would require a special context to sound natural. More usual would be something like, "My doctor forbids me to drink milk", which is still stiff and formal.
Mostly, in English a sentence like this is a personal statement that one is unable to drink milk because of some kind of allergy or dietary restriction, which is expressed as "I cannot drink milk." Not even "I may not drink milk" would be good English. "I'm not supposed to drink milk" is OK.
This kind of phrasing is peculiar to allergies and other negative physical reactions. "I can't eat honey/strawberries/nuts/etc." or "I can't have flu vaccinations" "I can't go out in the sun". All are relevant to not be allowed to, being forbidden to, etc., but in English it's expressed mostly as "can/cannot".
Sometimes I like to use more accurate constructions even if they are awkward in English, since it helps me focus on important points in the example.
Translating the example as I cannot drink milk encourages me to not notice that the apparent subject is actually something else entirely as shown by the use of Мне instead of я.
There's translation, and then there's transliteration...Maybe it would be helpful for DL to include exercises for each to aid in our understanding. I myself would not "get" the construction for possession unless the explanation of what is actually being said were not given, i.e., "By me there is/is not 'x'", rather than "I have/do not have 'x'."
"cannot" is correct. "can not" is mostly wrong, but I think it should be a "correct-but-typo", rather than marking the sentence wrong, since two-word phrase "can not" doesn't have another meaning - ALTHOUGH it could be use as an emphatic or in another weird context, as in "This singer is so terrific, nobody can not like her!" That just doesn't mean the same thing as "cannot", because the "not" attaches to "like" rather than "can". It is thus possible to use separated "can not", but the situation is so odd that it's just not "standard" English.
I cannot drink milk - я не могу пить молоко. т.е если я начну пить молоко то у меня не получится его выпить. мне нельзя пить молоко - значит я могу выпить молока но потом случится что-то плохое, например отравление, поэтому мне его лучше не пить. например нельзя есть землю, можно конечно попробовать но ни к чему хорошему это не приведет, но не могу есть камни потому что они твердые и их не получится разжевать, это физически невозможно быстрее сломаются зубы.