The Spelling of Cannot

Benjamin Barrett gogaku at IX.NETCOM.COM
Tue Jan 30 16:34:08 UTC 2001

Non-prestige dialects can (probably) be disregarded as they don't set the
spelling standards.

Benjamin Barrett

-----Original Message-----
From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU]On Behalf Of
Laurence Horn

At 11:50 PM -0800 1/29/01, I wrote:
Is it because cannot is the only one where the vowel in the modal verb
becomes (can become) a schwa? This would make it more natural to spell it as
one word.

Benjamin Barrett
gogaku at

Sounds plausible--we should probably also worry about the variants in
Scotland (esp. in Shetland) of the form "shouldna", "wouldna", "dinna",
"canna", etc., all with schwas and spelled as one word.


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