http://www.ldoceonline.com/dictionary/can In the above link, I found this usage of "can".

The word "can" may be 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-

If so, "Are the following sentences natural? "

  1. She is so beautiful that everyone can love her.

  2. She is so foolish that she can believe what he says.

  • 1
    #1 is almost hilariously bad, in that it contains a potential double entendre ("love" can mean either have affection for or have sex with). #2 is just awkward—the sort of thing a non-native speaker might say.
    – Robusto
    Jan 18, 2017 at 1:17
  • "Love" does not mean "have sex with" in any dialect of English that I'm aware of.
    – verbose
    Jan 18, 2017 at 1:20
  • @verbose: It's a figurative usage. And look up double entendre.
    – Robusto
    Jan 18, 2017 at 1:36
  • No, there is no commonly accepted figurative usage of "love" that means "have sex". Only a very puerile mind would read the first sentence and go "heh heh, anybody can love her, heh heh." And I know perfectly well what a double entendre is. If you insist that this double meaning exists, provide sourced examples.
    – verbose
    Jan 18, 2017 at 1:41
  • @verbose: The statement "Anybody can love her" would lead even mature minds to at least consider the double entendre. And where do you think the euphemism "make love" comes from?
    – Robusto
    Jan 18, 2017 at 2:00

1 Answer 1


Yes, but not with those examples, which are not idiomatic. "Everyone can love her" is grammatical, but we would be more likely to say:

She's so wonderful, you can't help but love her.

"Can't help but" is probably the idiomatic expression most similar to what you are trying to say.

She can't help but believe what he says.

Once they start drinking they can't help but have another and another until they pass out.

If you want to use "can love" or "can believe" then you can use the simple meaning of "possibility" or "potential".

She has such a big heart that she can love anyone.

I can believe that you would vote for that guy, but I can't understand why.

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