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The Difference Between

What is the difference between you don't want and you can't?

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February 03, 2011 10:27AM

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When someone says 'I don't want' this means they don't like the request from the other person or the particular position they are in and are firm in refusing to do it. When a person says 'I can't do it' there could be a reason such as a married man unable to leave his wife because she is ill or they have monies tied up in a business or property and he would stand to lose a great portion of his money (this is only an example.) If it's a moral issue the person will say 'I can't because I think it's wrong.' If they are uncomfortable with a moral issue the may say 'I don't want' and that means it's firm!

In the basic meanings of the two words, 'want' is related to personal 'will' (desire/choice), whereas can/can't is related to ability or capability.