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  1. #1
    mafto is offline Junior Member
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    "Couldnīt" for expressing certainty

    Hello,

    would it be correct to say "Heīs in Australia. The man waiting at the door couldnīt be him."?
    If weīre not in Australia and therefore the man waiting at the door canīt be him. I know "canīt" is OK, but want to make sure what about "couldnīt".

    Thank you.

    No. 2: If this happened in the past, what would the sentence look like? He was in Australia, so the man waiting at the door couldnīt be him OR the man waiting at the door couldnīt have been him.?

    And No. 3 (unrelated to the title of this thread): Tell me, please, if it is OK to say: I wanted to bring you your book, I looked for it everywhere but I canīt find it.
    Or should there be "couldnīt" only? It is normal in my language but I donīt know if you can jump in English from the past to the present like this :)

    Thank you for all answers

  2. #2
    billmcd is offline Key Member
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    Re: "Couldnīt" for expressing certainty

    Quote Originally Posted by mafto View Post
    Hello,

    Would it be correct to say "Heīs in Australia. The man waiting at the door couldnīt be him."?
    If weīre not in Australia and therefore the man waiting at the door canīt be him. I know "canīt" is OK, but want to make sure what about "couldnīt". Either form is acceptable.

    Thank you.

    No. 2: If this happened in the past, what would the sentence look like? He was in Australia, so the man waiting at the door couldnīt be him OR the man waiting at the door couldnīt have been him.? "couldn't have been"

    And No. 3 (unrelated to the title of this thread): Tell me, please, if it is OK to say: I wanted to bring you your book, I looked for it everywhere but I canīt find it.
    Or should there be "couldnīt" only? It is normal in my language but I donīt know if you can jump in English from the past to the present like this :)
    "Couldn't" suggests that the search has concluded. "Can't" indicates that the search has concluded, but suggests that possibility that the search may continue.
    Thank you for all answers
    b.

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