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  1. beachboy's Avatar
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    #1

    future with verb in the past

    Suppose Iīm planning to take my vacation next month. Something happens unexpectedly, almost preventing me from doing it, but I manage to go ahead with my plans. Is it right to say "I almost COULDNīT take my vacation NEXT MONTH"?
    Last edited by beachboy; 04-May-2009 at 00:33.

  2. Soup's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: future with verb in the past

    Re: I almost COULDNīT take my vacation NEXT MONTH?

    Hi beachboy

    It's pretty much awkward.

    The problem is that "almost couldn't" while it implies that you were indeed able to do something: take your vacation as planned, it also implies that you took your vacation already, that your vacation is over, in the past, a meaning incompatible with the future time adverbial "next month".


    • I could almost do it. <I didn't, however.>
    • I almost couldn't do. <I did it.>

  3. beachboy's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: future with verb in the past

    I couldnīt agree more! The fact is, I canīt think of way to convey my idea!

  4. Soup's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: future with verb in the past

    Quote Originally Posted by beachboy View Post
    I couldnīt agree more! The fact is, I canīt think of way to convey my idea!
    What about?

    • I though I wouldn't be able to take a vacation next month.
    • I almost didn't have vacation time next month.

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    #5

    Re: future with verb in the past

    Quote Originally Posted by beachboy View Post
    Suppose Iīm planning to take my vacation next month. Something happens unexpetedly, almost preventing me from doing it, but I manage to go ahead with my plans. Is it right to say "I almost COULDNīT take my vacation NEXT MONTH"?
    I don't have a problem with that sentence; it's meaning is very clear. The tenses are not a problem.


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    #6

    Re: future with verb in the past

    ...it also implies that you took your vacation already, that your vacation is over, in the past, a meaning incompatible with the future time adverbial "next month

    The problem here is seeing 'could' and in particular, 'could not', as PAST TENSE of 'can', rather than a hypothetical/imagined possibility: "I can go on vacation" versus "I almost couldn't..."
    compare:
    "I'm sorry I couldn't come last week, but I could come next Monday."

    "I almost COULDNīT take my vacation NEXT MONTH"?
    Some problem occurred at work, and I may not have been able to take the time off to go away on vacation.

    "I almost COULDNīT go on my vacation NEXT MONTH"?
    This covers both possibilities: something cropping up at work, or something in my private life that might have prevented me e.g. the travel agent went bust, but A.I.T.A. (travel insurance for travel agencies) came to the rescue.

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