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This question already has an answer here:

Is "Why can not I" grammatically correct?

If not, why is "Why can't I" grammatically correct?

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marked as duplicate by waiwai933 Aug 8 '13 at 5:34

This question was marked as an exact duplicate of an existing question.

I found my question elsewhere on here, so this is a duplicate. english.stackexchange.com/questions/78935/… – Mister Dood Aug 8 '13 at 5:31

They are both correct. The first is a contracted form of the second. The first seems to be common in spoken and even written English, which makes the second a bit unheard of.

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'Why can not I' is not grammatically correct. Because as per the standard formal usage, in interrogative sentences only the helping verb can come before the subject and not 'not.'

In 'Why can't I,' can't is read as cant and not 'can not.' While 'can not' consists of two words, can't is just one word and it IS the helping verb here. It's the word taken into writing after it became popular in speaking.

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