This was written on a very wet rainy afternoon in response to a prompt on Word Press. I suspect the inclement weather influenced my thinking processes.


Image © John Yeo


No, Thank You
If you could permanently ban a word from general usage, which one would it be? Why?


by John Yeo

 If I could ban a word from general usage and my very own thought processes it would surely be the word can’t. In my opinion there is no situation or scenario I can think of that can warrant this cop-out.
Can’t, a shortened version of the two words, can and not, abbreviated by the insertion of an apostrophe, is known in grammar as a contraction.
 Can’t is used in most people’s vocabulary as an alternative to won’t or a way to get across a polite cop out.
When I am faced with an impossible situation or something that is out of my physical possibilities, I would make the reason quite plain without the use of this irritating word.
 For example when asked if I could cross a raging, roaring, rapidly flowing, rock-filled river. Instead of saying, “I’m sorry I can’t!” I would far prefer to say, “No! That is impossible, I am unable to swim.”
 To say that one can’t cross this river would be to infer that getting from one side of the river to the other side is impossible. This rules out the use of flight or walking along the river-bank and crossing the river, using the nearest bridge.
When the Jones’s ask us to attend one of their interminably boring tea parties. The response should be. “Not this time, I’m sorry we have another engagement.”
 To say that we can’t attend is again to give the impression that our attendance is impossible. We should make it quite clear that attending the tea party is within the bounds of our possible courses of action, but for various reasons we shall be unable to, on this occasion.
 The internal use of the word can’t can be a severe drawback in many ways.
 The sentence, “I can’t do this,” is to convince yourself that the task is impossible, constant internal references to can’t, is to rule out the attempt altogether and continually convince yourself you are not up to the task in question.
Psychological pressure is brought to bear on your possible courses of action as you are insisting to yourself that the task in hand is impossible because you have internally ruled out any prospect of even attempting it.
  “I can’t do this,” seems to suggest that there is no way you will ever be able to tackle the task in hand.
If one were able to insert the word “won’t,” in any situation where the use of “can’t,” has been applied in the past, an incredible clarity would descend on the thought processes as the real reason why many tasks are not getting attempted becomes clear.
This infernal word is responsible for weakening many persons self-resolve, and allowing a huge self-built wall to hide behind, positively reinforcing a feeling of inadequacy and a lack of self-confidence in very many day-to-day situations.
 The self-esteem can be severely weakened by contrasting your present situation with the finished product in any form of creativity.
To admire a painting by Van Goff or any number of the Great Masters of art, then to step back and say, “I wish I could paint like that but I can’t,” is to possibly rule yourself out of even attempting to apply paint to a canvas.
To read a great novel or a series of the most beautiful sonnets by one of the greatest writers of all time, then to convince yourself internally that you can’t write poetry or prose like that is to give up the attempt by an impossible contrast.
 The greatest hurdle to get over in the race that is run to gain a full, well-rounded self assurance, and a positive attitude to life, is to be aware of the damage that a hidden meaning in an everyday word can inflict on the internal structures that go to make up the thinking processes.
 Can’t to me is a four-letter word in every sense of the meaning of a four-letter word. A curse that should banned from the thought processes totally and forgotten.

Copyright (c) Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.