Sporting Life

Want to annoy and inspire an athlete? Just say 'can't'

The most offensive four-letter word in the English language isn't what you think it is. People say it all the time. Me. You, too. Parents, sometimes. The best athletes, rarely.

"Can't" is what they hear, not what they say.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 01, 2018, with the headline 'Want to annoy and inspire an athlete? Just say 'can't''. Print Edition | Subscribe