Difference between 'cannot' and 'can not'

Difference between cannot and can not
Maybe and may be

Both cannot and can not are acceptable spellings, but the first is much more usual. You would particularly use can not when the ‘not’ forms part of another construction such as ‘not only’

Maybe, the compound word, is an adverb meaning “perhaps” or “possibly.”
May be is a verb phrase meaning “might be” or “could be.”


Maybe I will go out tonight.
I may be going out tonight.

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Usage note:
Cannot is sometimes also spelled can not. The one-word spelling is by far the more common: Interest rates simply cannot continue at their present level. The contraction can’t is most common in speech and informal writing.
maybe –adverb 1. perhaps; possibly: Maybe I’ll go too.
may - 2. Used to indicate a certain measure of likelihood or possibility: It may rain this afternoon. (It “may be so” or “may not be so.”)

eh? …

“Cannot” is far more common and is generally thought to be the “proper” choice in nearly every circumstance.

If you wanted to emphasize “not”, you could italicize it in “can not”.

Another example of a circumstance in which “can not” would work is this:

I can not only feed my children, I can put a roof over their heads as well.

Of course, that can be re-written to avoid the “can not” discomfort:

Not only can I feed my children…

Thanks for your answers…

I was very interested in the comments about “can not” and “cannot”. There generally seems to be a belief that the two forms are identical but this is not always the case. In “cannot” the “not” is tied to “can” and implies that what follows is forbidden, disallowed, impossible. For example “The pupil cannot joint the class if he has not paid his fees”, means that the pupil is forbidden to join the class if he has not paid.
On the other hand if this is written “The pupil can not joint the class if he has not paid his fees”. then the meaning becomes “The pupil can (is able to) not join the class, etc” He is allowed to ‘not join’, he can stay away !
If the two words are separated, the not becomes attached to the following statement, not to the preceding “can”; this can lead to ambiguity.
If prohibition is implied it must be “cannot” !

So you are arguing that when “cannot” is used incorrectly to mean “may not” that the proper incorrect usage is “can not”?

This seems wrong headed