In math or computer science there are a lot of definitive statements that can be formulated with "can" / "cannot".
- "If the last digit of a natural number is 0 then it cannot be prime."
- "A natural number can only be even or odd."
- "If I divide an even number by 2, the result can (still) be even."
I am looking for ways to give such a statement some uncertainty to express the following: If I did not make any mistakes, then it definitely must be that way (because it follows from some irrevocable laws / logic / axioms...). But I am not sure that I did not make any mistakes, so please, dear reader / listener, check it yourself and correct me if I am wrong!
Are there compact ways to give the "can (only) / cannot be" a touch of uncertainty in the above sense?
In my native language - German - I could just add a "should (be)" and reorder some words to get that effect.
I think - please correct me if I am wrong - that this is usually possible in English, too, but with normal (non-auxiliary) verbs. E.g.:
- person A: "Is she painting the wall now?"
- person B, certain: "Yes, she is painting the wall now."
- person B, uncertain: "(I'm not sure, but) she should be painting the wall now."
But in my ears, using a combination of "can" and "should" sounds wrong. So what options do I have?