(can/could) not have gone far

AntiScam

Senior Member
Arabic
All,

To me sounds right but being a non-native speaker I still want to ask a couple of questions?
CSnyder:
No, "can't have gone" is a perfectly reasonable expression in this case (it implies more immediacy in the start of the search than "couldn't have gone").
1- Do you agree that one is more immediate than the other, and do people recognize/mean this immediacy in spoken English?
2- Which sounds more informal and used more?

Any other differences and notes would be appreciated
 
  • PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    1- Do you agree that one is more immediate than the other,
    Yes
    and do people recognize/mean this immediacy in spoken English?
    Yes
    2- Which sounds more informal
    "can't have gone"
    and used more?
    The frequency of use is irrelevant: you use each when appropriate.

    Could, would, might, should, etc, have less force (and immediacy) than can, will, may, shall/must.

    Could, would, might, should, are often used to 'soften advice/an instruction.

    PS:
    To me this sounds right but, being a non-native speaker, I still want to ask a couple of questions? questions. <- No question mark, this is not a question.
     
    Last edited:

    AntiScam

    Senior Member
    Arabic
    Thank you PaulQ for the detailed answer. And thanks for drawing my attention to the punctuation slips. We share the same style of answering questions. To me, I developed it when I used to debate.
     
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