Usage of can't


I am so young that I can't die.

=I am too young to die.

(the two sentences are the same in meaning, aren't they?)


Here in the sentence, the meaning of can't is ability or possibility or not true?



Thank you so much as always and I hope to hear from you again. Have a good day.




Online Longman dictionary


to be able to do something or to know how to do something:
You can swim, can't you?

Even a small personal computer can store vast amounts of information.

Gabriella can speak French fluently.

I'm afraid Mr Harding can't see you now - he's busy.

The police are doing all they can to find her.

spokenused to ask someone to do something or give you something:
Can I have a cigarette, please?

Can you help me lift this box?

to be allowed to do something or to have the right or power to do something:
You can't park here - it's a no parking zone.

'Can we go home now, please?' 'No you can't.'

Any police officer can insist on seeing a driver's license.

used to say that something is possible:
I am confident a solution can be found.

There can be no doubt that he is guilty.

The boxes can be stored flat.

Can he still be alive after all this time?

seeing/hearing etc
used with the verbs 'see', 'hear', 'feel', 'taste', and 'smell', and with verbs connected with thinking, to mean that someone sees something, hears something etc:
Here they are - I can see their car.

Can you smell something burning?

I can't understand why you're so upset.

He can't remember where he put the tickets.

not true
[in negatives]used to say that you do not believe that something is true:
This can't be the right road.

It can't be easy caring for a man and a child who are not your own.

edited Sep 19 '13 at 02:26 Hans Contributor

1 answer


No, they do not have the same meaning and this is obviated in your own apt analysis.


I am so young that I can't die. is using a causal relationship:

Why can't I die?  Because I so am young.

Can't is being used in the third way to reference possibility.

To prove it, just insert the word:

"I am so young that I can't possibly die."  This has the same meaning.


"I am too young to die." is more of a lament based on death occuring at such a young age.

This is obviated by the adverb "too", meaning that you are dying at an unacceptably young age.


Long story short:

"I am so young that I can't die."

          is a sentence based upon causal possibility/impossibility.

"I am too young to die."

          is a sentence based upon moral acceptability/unacceptability.

link edited Sep 20 '13 at 01:23 Aaron Prejean Expert

Thank you so much and I posted one more question. When you are okay, could you check it out?

HansSep 20 '13 at 02:20

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