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  1. LesFox's Avatar
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    #1

    I could not... (uncertainty)

    Hi!
    There is a little bit similar theme: https://www.usingenglish.com/forum/t...ld-not-find-it

    The phrase: I could not find my keys.

    But I wonder how to express uncertainty? I mean, there was a possibility that I wouldn't find them, but I've found my keys and I'm very glad)

    I'm not very good at English yet, and this is my first, really hard-won, message here. Thank you so much for your attention!

  2. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: I could not... (uncertainty)

    'I could not have found my keys.'── a past possibility.
    I am not a teacher.

  3. teechar's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: I could not... (uncertainty)

    Quote Originally Posted by LesFox View Post
    Hi!
    There is a little bit slightly similar thread to my question: theme: https://www.usingenglish.com/forum/t...ld-not-find-it
    It's quite different.

    Quote Originally Posted by LesFox View Post
    The consider the phrase: I could not find my keys.

    But I wonder how to express uncertainty. I mean, there was a possibility that I wouldn't find them, but I've found my keys and I'm very glad.

    I'm not very good at English yet, and this is my first , really hard-won, message here. Thank you so much for your attention!
    I thought I might/would not find my keys.

    "Would" is stronger than "might."

  4. LesFox's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: I could not... (uncertainty)

    Thanks for the replies and correcting my mistakes. It's clear now :)

  5. Roman55's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: I could not... (uncertainty)

    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew Wai View Post
    'I could not have found my keys.'── a past possibility.

    No, it isn't.

    'I could not have found my keys without your help', would work.
    I am not a teacher

  6. LesFox's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: I could not... (uncertainty)

    I'm confused now)
    Quote Originally Posted by Roman55 View Post
    No, it isn't.

    'I could not have found my keys without your help', would work.
    Why can't we say just only "I could not have found my keys"? Is it incorrect?
    For example I've lost my keys, and then I've found them without anyone's help. And now I'm relieved and think about what would happen, if I didn't find them

  7. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: I could not... (uncertainty)

    I could not have found my keys if I had not been lucky enough.
    I am not a teacher.

  8. teechar's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: I could not... (uncertainty)

    Quote Originally Posted by LesFox View Post
    Why can't we say just only "I could not have found my keys"? Is it incorrect?
    It's not incorrect. It just describes an unreal (imaginary) situation in the past.
    For instance, I could not have found my keys. I spent hours looking for them in the bedroom, but they were in the kitchen. Silly me!

    Quote Originally Posted by LesFox View Post
    For example I've lost my keys, and then I've found them without anyone's help. And now I'm relieved and think about what would have happened, if I didn't find hadn't found them
    e.g.,
    I'm really happy I've found my keys. I can't imagine how worried I would have been if I hadn't found them.
    or
    I'm so glad I've found my keys. I can't think how anxious I would have been had I not found them.

  9. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: I could not... (uncertainty)

    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew Wai View Post
    I could not have found my keys if I had not been lucky enough.

    That's very unnatural.
    "Invading armies have no rights." Noam Chomsky

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