When is Can NOT Can?
I can /kən/ tell you that the word can /kæn/ is not always pronounced as can /kæn/.
You see, the word can /kæn/, which can /kən/ be a noun, a verb, or a modal verb, can /kən/ be pronounced in two distinct ways.
There is the strong pronunciation of can /kæn/ and the weak pronunciation of can /kən/.
“Can /kən/ this man be serious?” I hear you ask.
Well, if you can /kən/ spare me a minute or two of your time, I can /kən/ explain.
Firstly, the noun form of can /kæn/ is always strong.
A can /kæn/ is a can /kæn/, and that’s about all I can /kən/ say about the noun can /kæn/.
Stick something in a can /kæn/ and you can /kæn/ it, and that can /kæn/ is the verb form.
Can /kən/ you remember me mentioning that can /kæn/ can /kən/ also be a modal verb?
You can /kæn/? Good!
While the noun form of can /kæn/ always has a strong pronunciation, the modal verb form of can /kæn/, can /kən/ also have a weak pronunciation of can /kən/.
Can /kən/ you hear the difference?
Can /kæn/, can /kən/.
The modal verb can /kæn/ means to have an ability to do something.
When used to express ability, can /kæn/ is normally pronounced in the weak form can /kən/.
I can /kən/ swim.
I can /kən/ teach.
I can /kən/ dance.
We normally only use the strong form if it comes at the end of the sentence or when we are arguing or contradicting.
Can /kən/ I dance? I course I can /kæn/?
You can’t /kɑːnt/ dance!
I can /kæn/ dance! See!
Did you notice the negative form of can /kæn/?
The negative form of can /kæn/ is can’t /kɑːnt/, and it’s always strong.
In fact, if you say can’t /kɑːnt/ with a weak vowel, you say one of the rudest words in English.
If you’d like to know what this rudest of words is, you can /kən/ visit my website, SoundsRude.com.
It would be rude not to!
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Of course you can /kæn/.