"Sorry, can't do it without the proper form."
"Oh, we can't do it that way."
And I hear it from people in customer service all the time.
Me: "Can you please make sure my three-day service package arrives at its destination in the three days I requested?"
Them: "Oooh, sorry. We can't."
The word "can't" necessarily applies to some situations: I can't go to the moon tomorrow. But what "can't" really means is: you won't.
That's probably why it's so irritating to hear "can't." I'm sorry to go all self-helpy on you here, but how many times have you said "I can't" or "I won't"? It's okay to say you won't, but don't pass it off as can't.
- You can't be a published writer? Or you won't put the time into it to make it happen?
- You can't get an agent? Or you won't take a look at what's wrong with your plot, query, letter?
- You can't finish your book? Or you won't find the time to?
- You can't find the motivation? Or you won't give up watching American Idol in order to?
- You can't be a better writer? Or you won't put the time into learning how to write?
It's up to you to do what you will and won't, but personally, I try very hard not to say can't anymore.What I am really saying is I won't-- and I try not to say this, either.
Listen to the next time you hear someone say they can't do something for you. See what they're really saying.