Student or Learner
which of these make sense and is there any difference in meaning?
#1 We tried hard but we couldn't persuade them to come.
#2 We tried hard but we couldn't have persuaded them to come.
#3 We tried hard but we weren't able to persuade them to come.
Personally, contemplating over the issue before sending it, , Id prefer #1 & #3, but I can't get it why I don't like #2... Is #2 really incorrect? Is there difference between #1 & 3?
Thanks for your time.
Id appreciate a native speaker's comment in this case. Thanks for all reactions anyway.
Examples 1 and 3 express the same meaning. As for example 2, couldn't have expresses a probability in the past.#2 We tried hard [to persuade them to come], but we couldn't have persuaded them to come (*because we didn't).Do you see the problem? It's ungrammatical because there is no probability. You did indeed try to persuade them to come; they turned you down.
Try,We could have bribed them (but we didn't), but they still wouldn't have come.Does that help?