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When I say "I cannot attend to it" it sounds like I'm saying "I'm not able to attend to it", while what I want to express is that I'm capable of doing it, but I just don't need to.

In Slavic languages it's resolved by changing the negation particle position: [negation] [can] [do something] vs. [can] [negation] [do something]. In the first case I negate "can", while in the second I negate the "do" verb.

How to achieve the same in English and not be ambiguous?

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  • "I don't need to X" or "I'm not required to X".
    – Roger
    Oct 21 '14 at 18:43
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In English this is often achieved by using the opposite verb. In this sentence you could say "I'm free to avoid something" or "I'm free to skip something".

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