Let's see if we can't get that to work...

I had a boss who inverted the can/can't statement. I'm sure he learned it from someone.
To me, it always sounded like a statement of failure. Why would you 'not' want something to work?
"Let's see if we can't get that to work..."

No boss, let's see if we CAN get that to work!
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Comments (9)

I had an Irish boss once for an office job in the past, and it was all 'can you not do this' or 'can you not do that'... We got used to it but he didn't understand that it would be a lot easier to just say 'can you do this' etc etc.!

It's just the way people talk that doesn't always make sense! laugh
Can't you like this young musician called Sam Fender? There's no such word as can't - so why do people say it!? laugh

Cannot = can't
Cannot... Can't...c*nt! (one vowel letter!) laugh
I worked for a man from South Africa and his accent was very strong.

Khant as in khant doo it
Many Americans from the 'Deep South' would say 'kaye-nt'

Anyway, He would go into Burger King restaurant to order a Whopper, fries and a keuok (Coke) No one could understand him so he would ask for a Pepsi (Pepsi-cola) and the reply was "We only have Coke"
His response was "Okay, I'll take that"
Funny that. Today i went for a long walk (around 4miles) to clear my head from all the Queen's death stuff... Then ended up in a pub talking to a black man, working here, from Zimbabwe... No disrespect but I was only after a peaceful drink on my own but I stole his seat when he left it empty! Then he wanted to buy me another drink and was getting keen, so as he went to the toilet - I ran away for self preservation purposes!!!!

I like accents though! laugh
Most people I meet say I have no discernible accent, but my father who was born in New York, flushed a terlet and berled water!


laugh
My accent always gives me away depending on the drunkenness of the recipient! I get:

'You're not from round here are you'

'That's not a local accent'

'Are you from Australia?'

So! laugh
I tell many of my online students not to abbreviate cannot as can't, because the listener is seldom, rarely, sure whether an ESL speaker is saying can or can't - 'cannot' and 'can not' are much better aren't they? laugh

However @op 'whether we can't get that to work' is perfectly logical. In attacking a problem to be solved in a limited time you will discover whether you can or cannot solve it. According to Goedel's theorem, there are infinitely many propositions which cannot be proven or disproven, but of these you can be sure it cannot be proven that they cannot be proven, whereas with provability you have some possibility!

Speaking of limited time, Fermat's Last Theorem (for which he had a super-neat proof he said) took 358 years to solve in 1994.
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