I think we can say:

Technology XY doesn't work with batteries, does it?

to ask the other person for confirmation / to ask if you're correct or not.

But how to do the same with a sentence with cannot:

This device cannot communicate with the protocol Y, can it?

Is this ending "can it" correct? I rarely here it.

Meaning I'm looking for: "it cannot communicate with ..., please correct me if I'm wrong"

  • Why would you not be able to use "can it" in this sense? – Hot Licks Sep 15 '17 at 21:23
  • @HotLicks I don't know, but I think I never heard anyone saying "... cannot ..., can it?" – Basj Sep 15 '17 at 21:56
  • That's probably because they would use "can't" in informal use. – Simon B Sep 15 '17 at 22:13
  • it's not about the first part cannot / can't, but more the end "can it?" that I did not know if it's used on everyday oral language or not? – Basj Sep 15 '17 at 22:16
  • It is indeed part of everyday language. There's a stackexchange called ELL that might be useful to you. – rjpond Sep 15 '17 at 22:44

Dealing with does it vs. doesn't it or can it vs. can't it can be problematic, since different languages handle negation differently.

Another option when trying to confirm a statement is:

Technology XY doesn't work with batteries, right?
This device cannot communicate with the protocol Y, right?

Outside of formal contexts this should be OK.


The ending "can it?" is completely correct in this case, and its meaning is exactly what you're looking for.

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