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Academic Paper


Title: Impossible, in a possible sort of way
Author: Michael Bulley
Institution: United Arab Emirates University
Linguistic Field: General Linguistics
Subject Language: English
Abstract: The combination of possibly with can't and couldn't seems to me on the increase. Or perhaps I just notice it more since I've been living in France. For in French there is no direct equivalent of possibly. You have probablement (= probably), but there is no French word *possiblement. What, then, is going on when you find in English, to take a recent example, ‘For all the malfunctions of the past few years, it's assumed the structure of British society can't possibly be refashioned’ (standfirst to an article by Marina Hyde, The Guardian, 7 July 2012)?

CUP AT LINGUIST

This article appears IN English Today Vol. 29, Issue 2, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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