Problems with Modals I

Hy Everybody!
I am looking for help!
Today I learn the modals I. I see three ways of writing cannot, can’t and can not. Are the following examples correct?

  1. You cannot park your car here.
  2. You can’t park your car here.
  3. Chatterbug can not only teach you English but it can also help you to stay in contact with other people.
    …it can also help /helps?
    “cannot and can’t” are the same? “can not only … but it can also…” only in this combination?
    Thank you so much for reading my little problems and perhaps for helping me!
    Yours Danielaxxx

Hi @Danielaxxx! That’s a great question! Your three examples look correct to me but I’ll let the English speakers answer you :slight_smile:


Hello, @Danielaxxx :slightly_smiling_face: you’re right Can’t is a contraction of cannot, therefore they have the same meaning. One of the differences it’s their use as Can’t it’s best suited for informal writing and cannot for formal writing. In order to write it separately you used it well in the construction “can not only … but also”. Still I think @JoAnn can also give us a hint of these three ways of writing :hugs:.


Your examples are good.

“Cannot” and “can’t” have the same meaning. “Can’t” is the informal contraction of “cannot.”

Regarding “can not only … but also” there is a another way to think about it that may be helpful. Think of “not only … but also” as a sentence pair. The word “can” from your example can easily be replaced with other verbs. For example, “He is not only a good student but also a good father.”

As you can see, the “not only … but also” pair is not limited or bound to the verb “can.” I can see how that might be a little confusing if you have seen this structure for the first time with “can.” Just remember that this sentence construct is flexible and not bound to a verb.

This is similar to the “either … or” sentence construct but it has a reversed meaning:

“EITHER this OR that” makes an exclusive choice. One or the other. Not both.

“NOT ONLY this BUT ALSO that” holds both items to be true. There is a balance.

-I hope this helps


Yes! @Danielaxxx you’re correct! @kthxbye’s and @27sp.sandra’s explanations are also very helpful to understand the overall concept.
What I can add is the video, Cannot, Can Not, Can’t, so you have verbal confirmation. :blush:

:arrow_up: To answer this question.
Your sentence is correct! However, if you want to use ‘helps’ you would have to reformulate the sentence, taking out ‘it can.’ So, it would look like:
Chatterbug can not only teach you English but also helps you to stay in contact with other people.
You would say ‘helps’ here because you are referring to Chatterbug, which has the pronoun ‘it’ (3rd person present tense). The sentence with ‘helps’ sounds better because you don’t have to repeat yourself using ‘it can’ in the second part of the sentence.

I hope this helps!


Dear Chatterbug Community,
thank you so much for your warm words and for your helpful advices. Now I see clear and can’t fail anymore with can’t etc…
It seems to me as if the modals I are a little bit complicated. And I found many of them…
Special thanks @Amandine and @27sp.sandra for answering so quickly.
@kthxbye for the long text and the details, which help me so much.
@JoAnn I love tutorials! Thank you for sharing one. and for the advice about help and helps.
All the best for you from snowy mountains in April!