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Is there any differences between "can't you swim?" and "can you not swim?",thank you.

  • Hello David, welcome to ELL. It is useful to search the ELL and ELU sites for relevant questions first. Often you will find someone has already asked a relevant question, and answers to that may help solve your problem. You can take a look at this: Difference between “Can't you” and “Can you not”?. – AIQ Nov 5 '19 at 2:12
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"Can't you swim?" and "can you not swim?" are both used to ask someone if they can swim or not. The contracted form is used more often, so the uncontracted form carries a little more emphasis, like when you can't believe that someone can't swim.

In addition, "can you not swim?" can be used to ask someone to stop swimming. (See also can you not in Urban Dictionary.) Here's a similar example, where the speaker is asking the other person to stop talking:

"Please. Just steer the boat and call the drills. Can you not talk so much?" —The River Killings

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