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Ivan Fadeev
Posted: Wednesday, April 7, 2021 12:54:23 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 2/21/2015
Posts: 1,253
Neurons: 15,468
I don't know where this book is:
a) I can't find it for the last two days.
b) I couldn't find it for the last two days.
c) I couldn't have found it for the last two days.
d) I haven't been able to find it for the last two days.

I think d is correct. What about the rest?
FounDit
Posted: Wednesday, April 7, 2021 2:31:53 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/19/2011
Posts: 15,647
Neurons: 74,672
Ivan Fadeev wrote:
I don't know where this book is:
a) I can't find it for the last two days. No, this doesn't work. "Can't" is now, present tense. The last two days are gone, they are past.

b) I couldn't find it for the last two days. Yes, this one works, because "couldn't" is concerning the past, but gives the impression you have now found it.

c) I couldn't have found it for the last two days. This one works only if it was not possible for you to find it because it was not there. Once we realize that, we'd likely change the wording to show that. The "perfect" sense was impossible to be completed.

"I couldn't have found it in the last two days I looked, because it isn't here any longer (or, isn't here to be found)".

d) I haven't been able to find it for the last two days. This one is the most commonly said and very natural.

I think d is correct. What about the rest?
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