Cannot (preferred spelling), can not (acceptable), and can't (contraction) all mean EXACTLY the same thing. No difference.
I still firmly believe that "can not" means something very different from "cannot". They would, in fact, translate differently into other languages. "Non possono andare: They cannot go", as in, they are not allowed to go, or have no means to go. "Possono non andare: They can not go", as in, they have the option not to go.
I understand your point but it's not how the words are used. Take another example, "all ready" and "already" -- same meaning, it is just a simplification that's happened as English has evolved.
My father still writes "to-day" instead of "today." A more recent example of that, now "cooperation" is accepted in place of "co-operation."
Actually "already" and "all ready" have two completely different meanings. "Already" pertains to punctuality - example given: We are here already.
"All ready" pertains to the preparation of a group - e.g.: We are all ready to leave.
And in even in English "cannot" and "can not" have quite different meanings. It's all semantics and most people (English speakers included) don't really know the difference or even that "cannot" is supposed to be one word. Usually it's just understood that "cannot" is intended. With that in mind it stands to reason that they would probably translate into other languages differently as well.
"Cannot" flat out means "not possible". - It cannot be done. "Can not" does not dismiss possibility. - You can do that or you can not do that.
The latter makes no claim towards possibility, but rather functions in a similar way to double negatives. It puts the context more in that of a choice than a capability.
Sorry to have been so long-winded, but it verifies Dwarven is correct in his/her assertions.
just because the word 'already' stems from 'all' + 'ready', does not mean it has the same meaning.
Well... lemme ask you this. Where are you? My above explanations stand true where I'm at (in the USA). "All ready" and "already" where I'm at mean two separate things and are never used interchangeably. Certainly not without welcoming criticisms.
"Cannot" is revered as the proper way to say "can not". People will often say "can not" intending the same function as "cannot", but it's taught in schools that it, too, plays a different role in sentences. It's like the use "alot" and "a lot". It's easy to find people that say "alot", but that's not actually even a word. "A lot" is the proper way, despite how often the former is seen.
These things are correct where I'm at, but proper English is a relative term. I certainly don't represent how the language is interpreted in all regions of the world.
I'm not an etymology expert but I am a native English (British) speaker.
'Can not' and 'Cannot' are interchangable. If not in all situations, then most. There does not seem to be a rule set in stone by the various esteemed dictionaries.
First of all I want to say that English is not my native language and that I've always been taught that cannot is the only correct spelling (except for the contraction), of course it might be changing in some places.
Anyway, I guess they may have different meaning or may not.
If you accept can not as an altenative spelling or assume the writer intended to say that but made a mistake, then they mean the same thing (sth is not possible)
However, in the sentence given by KSmitch: "You can do that or you can not do that" the meaning is different. But I wouldn't say that it's "can not + do" but rather "can + not do" and I think the difference would be audible in speech.
So, the way you say it determines the meaning, just like the sentence "you did quite well" may mean that I'm impressed with your performance or that I expected better results depending on whether I put stress on "well" or on "quite"
What mchollandersays is correct. "www.oxforddictionaries.com/words/cannot-or-can-not Both cannot and can not are acceptable spellings, but the first is much more usual. You would use can not when the ‘not’ forms part of another construction such as ‘not only’. For example:
'These green industries can not only create more jobs, but also promote sustainable development of the land.'
As for "all ready" and "already" just google 'all ready vs already' and you'll get dozens of sites verifying that they are different. mchollander says that also. Here are couple of lingots for you contribution.
Yes, of course they can both be used. I mereley stated that while in the sentence "you cannot go to that party" you may also use "can not", although it's not preferred; in your example "These green industries can not only create more jobs, but also promote sustainable development of the land" it would be impossible to use "cannot". Thus, they not always mean the same.
Sorry, all ready and already do NOT mean the same thing. "All ready" means everything is ready, while "already" means before the present time or earlier than expected. Big difference. And with or without the hyphens the words you used as examples do have the same meaning. Just like can not, cannot, and can't.
If you read 40 or 50-year-old novels you can find "all ready" in place of "already," I remember having a discussion about this with my English professor. I'm not trying to win internet points, and I acknowledge you're right--there can be an implied difference in modern usage--but historically, they're the same and still accepted as such.
No, they mean the same, but they can be interpreted differently. Ultimately cannot means the inability to--whether by choice or not.
Because that would translate to "No, no non possono." The "non" defines "possono" to mean "can't" in English.
I know I'm not being literal enough, but does this really mean something more like: "No, that's not possible!" ? I missed that we were learning new verb tenses, so now I get why "they cannot" is important, I'm just trying to figure out how it would typically be used in conversation.
I would never write it like that in english of course. It'd be 'No they can not!' for emphasis.
For me the difference between the contraction 'cannot' and 'can not' is sometimes heard in spoken English when the speaker clearly separates the words to provide emphasis to permission being declined. AND this from the Oxford: 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, he also paints brilliantly.
I'm not totally sure why the "non" has to be used. "Non" already means "not", and "possono" means "they cannot". So this would be a literal translation of "not cannot". Why isn't it just "no, possono"
Ah, simple problem, and a simple answer. You see, "possono" actually means "they can". I suppose duolingo put it as "cannot" so that Italian speakers learning English wouldn't get confused and write "not can". To be honest, I really don't know. It was probably to avoid some sort of confusion, though that doesn't seem to be working as well as it could.