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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Am I the only one who gets a little twinge of something when someone uses the word "can't" regarding their diet?

It's a little twinge of something like surprise, maybe frustration, with a dash of pity, whenever people talk about what I "can't" eat, or run through a list like "you can't eat that, that or that". Because it's not that I "can't" eat anything; it's that I choose not to consume certain things.

I didn't understand that when I was an omnivore, so I don't blame other people for not understanding now I'm on the other side. It's just such a weird feeling. Is it just me?
 

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People misuse the word "can't" all the time. A perfect example is if you are asking someone for permission to do something. Instead of saying "May I sit on your chair for a while?", people will say, "Can I sit on your chair?" which is really silly because of course most people have the ability to sit on a chair. I don't take offense when people tell me I can't eat this and that because I know that they are simply misusing this commonly misused word.
 

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if you want to be a veg**n, then you can't eat that thing.

as showed by the honey thread.
 

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I get an annoyed feeling. However, most of the time whenever something I "can't" eat is brought up (usually only animals are brought up), whoever says it goes into detail about how good that something is, or they say something along the line of "oh, too bad you can't eat this animal, I really wish you could enjoy it with me"

I have no problem with the usage if it's more of a "I didn't know you couldn't eat marshmallows" type of thing.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by omnisheep View Post

Instead of saying "May I sit on your chair for a while?", people will say, "Can I sit on your chair?" which is really silly because of course most people have the ability to sit on a chair.
That reminds me, I used to have a teacher when I was about 10 who when I asked "can I go to the toilet" she's reply "I should think you can!" and wait for us to say "MAY I go to the toilet" which is quite funny NOW, but at 10 we didn't really understand the point she was making and it was very confusing!

Anyway on topic, I actually misuse the word can't all the time myself. I say "oh I can't eat it, damn" or something. Not that often, if speaking to someone I don't know that well I try to say "I don't eat that" just to be clearer, but in general conversation I usually say can't. As omnisheep says, it's used wrongly all the time, and it's really more a matter of semantics than how omnis see vegans.

So yeah it doesn't bother me at all, I see your point though. Sometimes if someone says "can you eat this" I say "no, well yes I can, but I don't, if you know what I mean" but usually I say no and don't even think about it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
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Originally Posted by Envy View Post

if you want to be a veg**n, then you can't eat that thing.

as showed by the honey thread.
I don't not eat things because I want to be a vegan. I choose not to eat things because I disagree with how they were produced, and I don't need them to be healthy. I can eat anything I like. I choose a diet that happens to correspond to what is traditionally called vegan.

Quote:
Originally Posted by zebrafied View Post

I get an annoyed feeling. However, most of the time whenever something I "can't" eat is brought up (usually only animals are brought up), whoever says it goes into detail about how good that something is, or they say something along the line of "oh, too bad you can't eat this animal, I really wish you could enjoy it with me"
I think what brought this up was spending the weekend with my boyfriend's parents, and hearing "oh, you can't eat ice-cream can you? You can't eat quorn? You can't eat eggs," etc, all in a tone of growing pity and confusion. I'm not sure how I could explain that I'm not deprived, there's not some evil vegan overlord refusing to let me eat certain things, I just choose not to consume certain products.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by omnisheep View Post

People misuse the word "can't" all the time. A perfect example is if you are asking someone for permission to do something. Instead of saying "May I sit on your chair for a while?", people will say, "Can I sit on your chair?" which is really silly because of course most people have the ability to sit on a chair. I don't take offense when people tell me I can't eat this and that because I know that they are simply misusing this commonly misused word.
This isn't exactly misuse any more; it's an accepted secondary use for the word. Funny how language changes.

As for the 'can't' versus 'choose' thing... I think there are far more important things to get wound up about. As long as people are aware of what I will and won't eat and why, I'm not bothered how they express that.

Unless they're waving their food in my face going "MMM, don't you want some? Oh wait, you CAN'T, you're VEEEEGAN." Then I get annoyed. But that's a little different to my mum informing my nana that I "can't" eat cheese, eggs, etc when she's planning the summer BBQ.
 

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I try not to get worked up over semantics. It's usually nice if someone is thinking about my diet at all -- for example if someone is helping me figure out what to eat at a potluck.

Do you really go around saying, "I choose not to eat meat/dairy/eggs"? It just seems sort of cumbersome. I usually say that I don't eat those things, but I do say can't every once in a while. People get the point.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
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Originally Posted by RunnerVeggie View Post

I try not to get worked up over semantics.
This thread really isn't about semantics. I guess I shouldn't try to express myself at 6am, with no sleep!

But, to answer your question, I tend to say "don't", rather than "can't".
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deis View Post

This thread really isn't about semantics. I guess I shouldn't try to express myself at 6am, with no sleep!

But, to answer your question, I tend to say "don't", rather than "can't".
If you define yourself as a "vegan" then you can not eat something which is not "vegan". Semantics or not it doesn't matter. Ultimately the world is not going to change for you, so it's better to just shut out that twinge you get because you're going to keep getting it except in the rare circumstances in which people see things the same way as you (which I do, but it doesn't make a difference.)
 

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When someone says I can't have something, I remind them that I'm not allergic, I just won't have it.
I like people to realize it's a choice I'm making, not a condition I'm forced to.
Like workplace ethics even. I wouldn't say I don't act unethically because it's a rule, it's because I believe in the value of ethics.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by silva View Post

When someone says I can't have something, I remind them that I'm not allergic, I just won't have it.
I like people to realize it's a choice I'm making, not a condition I'm forced to.
Like workplace ethics even. I wouldn't say I don't act unethically because it's a rule, it's because I believe in the value of ethics.
This reminds me of when I was a kid, and didn't understand veganism. I actually thought it was like a condition, where you couldn't eat something because it would make you sick, like being lactose intolerant. No one told me it was a choice. How silly :p
 

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that phrase bothers me too, its not so much the word 'can't' more the intention with the statement, its usually like the person saying it feels sorry or sad that you "can't" eat something.

sometimes I reply "I can, but I choose not to", or try to make them not feel bad for me by saying how great what I am already eating is or ask them if they can't eat vegetables or something they choose not to eat to try to turn the tables. i usually only do the last one if the first 2 have been tried previously.

to others, no one is forcing us to be vegan its a choice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thank you, Silva and luvyourmother, that's exactly what I was trying to get at.


Rainbows; um, wow. O_O Overreact much?
 
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