If the "ne" is an explétif, used with the subjonctive. Then why is "peux" not "puisses"
Even though it is 4 years old, I think your question is still valid and sadly not satisfactorily answered. Also Dragana properly raises an issue with the explanation that the "ne" is the ne expletive.( If the "ne" is an explétif, used with the subjunctive. Then why is "peux" not "puisses"):
I did some digging and it seems this is a somewhat common (and allowable) construction with some PARTICULAR verbs. The authority behind this explanation is "Grevisse note (14e ed. §1014 b. 1º)".
With the verbs pouvoir; oser; cesser and manquer de one can employ NE + infinitive because the intended meaning is not really a negation. And it is NOT the 'ne expletif' + subjunctive!!! It is simply an exceptional usage of 'ne'(maybe an idiomatic usage) just as "J'en vaux vraiment la peine !"
I hope this information triggers further clarification from any of the the site's moderators /experts . It may have been a genuine oversight on their part.
I’ve dug a little too. I think that when the ne explétif is used after a comparison of inequality (as here) the verb after it doesn’t have to be in the subjunctive. But would welcome clarification. (Also the ne before pouvoir, oser, cesser and manquer is a ne littéraire, which I’m not planning to learn..)
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