I <haven't found><didn't find> any entries

serhioses

Member
Russian, Russian - Ukrainian
Hi guys. There's a sentence Surprisingly, but I haven't found any entries on the occasion.
I was told that this sentence is wrong because the occasion happened in the past and is over and the correct version should be Surprisingly, but I didn't find any entries on the occasion.
I still can't figure out why... I don't see a point in the past here. I mean, I understand that the occasion is over, but I just want to say that I haven't found anything so far about it and I do not specify any time.
For example this sentence was fine I haven't found any photos of my childhood. My childhood is over as well. But somehow, it's fine.
 
  • Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    The sentence is wrong irrespective of the choice of tense. Where is it from?
    "Surprisingly, but <statement>" simply is not a valid sentence, even when the statement it contains is correct.

    The bare statement "I haven't found any entries on the occasion" is perfectly all right {except that it would work better with 'this' instead of 'the'}, and so if you changed "haven't found" to "didn't find" it would still be all right. Context will determine the best choice of tense.

    Use the present perfect if the statement is connected to the present, i.e. if the not-finding is of interest now.
    Use the simple past if the not-finding is historic and of no immediate relevance.
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    Surprisingly, but I haven't found any entries on the occasion.

    Can you explain in other words?

    I haven't found any photos of my childhood. It's fine if you have searched recently, or if you are referring to a long period during which you never found any photos from that period:

    I've had a look (recently), but I haven't found/didn't find any photos.
    I haven't (ever) found any photos of my childhood.
    I didn't ever (on all the occasions that I searched) find a photo of my childhood.
     

    serhioses

    Member
    Russian, Russian - Ukrainian
    Can you explain in other words?

    I haven't found any photos of my childhood. It's fine if you have searched recently, or if you are referring to a long period during which you never found any photos from that period:

    I've had a look (recently), but I haven't found/didn't find any photos.
    I haven't (ever) found any photos of my childhood.
    I didn't ever (on all the occasions that I searched) find a photo of my childhood.
    Can you explain in other words?
    I am surprised that I haven't found any information on the occasion (any event in the past) so far because I expected to find something.
    Hope that makes sense.

    The sentence is wrong irrespective of the choice of tense. Where is it from?
    "Surprisingly, but <statement>" simply is not a valid sentence, even when the statement it contains is correct.

    The bare statement "I haven't found any entries on the occasion" is perfectly all right {except that it would work better with 'this' instead of 'the'}, and so if you changed "haven't found" to "didn't find" it would still be all right. Context will determine the best choice of tense.

    Use the present perfect if the statement is connected to the present, i.e. if the not-finding is of interest now.
    Use the simple past if the not-finding is historic and of no immediate relevance.
    It's my own sentence. I just made it up to review my new vocabulary. So there was nothing specific put into the occasion. Let's say it was a meeting of a certain group of people who were not ever supposed to meet because of too different walks of life.
    I wasn't told anything about "Surprisingly, but <statement>" being wrong though.
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    Thank you, serhioses.

    As Edinburgher says, we need an exact context that might indicate a preference for the present perfect over the preterite. Otherwise, either might be used. It's the usual difference, based on whether the speaker regards the action (of searching but not finding) as closed and belonging to the past, or as recent or on-going for some reason. Perhaps they intend to go on searching.
     

    Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    Three examples might help:
    1. I looked for those enties last month but I didn't find any.
    2. I looked for those entries today but I didn't find/haven't found any.
    3. I've been looking for those entries all morning but I haven't found any. (Do you want me to carry on?)
    Nos. 1 and 3 are quite clear-cut: a situation that is in the past and completed; or a situation that continues into the present and perhaps beyond. Case no.2 shows how the writer/speaker has free choice of tense to suggest whether, in their mind, the situation is ongoing or not.
     

    serhioses

    Member
    Russian, Russian - Ukrainian
    Three examples might help:
    1. I looked for those enties last month but I didn't find any.
    2. I looked for those entries today but I didn't find/haven't found any.
    3. I've been looking for those entries all morning but I haven't found any. (Do you want me to carry on?)
    Nos. 1 and 3 are quite clear-cut: a situation that is in the past and completed; or a situation that continues into the present and perhaps beyond. Case no.2 shows how the writer/speaker has free choice of tense to suggest whether, in their mind, the situation is ongoing or not.
    So does my initial sentence make sense for you? Is it fine?
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    So does my initial sentence make sense for you? Is it fine?
    Before reading the rest of the posts, I was clueless as to what "entries on the occasion" might mean. "Surprisingly, but" is a very odd way to start a sentence with no context and might actually be wrong. It needs whatever comes before it in order to judge it.
     

    serhioses

    Member
    Russian, Russian - Ukrainian
    Before reading the rest of the posts, I was clueless as to what "entries on the occasion" might mean. "Surprisingly, but" is a very odd way to start a sentence with no context and might actually be wrong. It needs whatever comes before it in order to judge it.
    Yeah, it was initially without any context. So I've just tried to make up a short story.
    My grandfather once told me about the meeting of the founders of Movement X in London. That day they outlined their doctrine. Surprisingly, but I haven't found any entries on the occasion on the internet, even though it has had a great impact on millions of lives.
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    Yes, as I suspected, "surprisingly but" is actually wrong. I looked, but I haven't found. You haven't mentioned looking so there's no way to make a contrast (but) to it. You mean something like "That's surprising because I haven't found ..."
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    The word order is wrong.

    But, surprisingly, I haven't found any references to that occasion online.
    Surprisingly though, I haven't found...
    (Also possible)
     

    serhioses

    Member
    Russian, Russian - Ukrainian
    Yes, as I suspected, "surprisingly but" is actually wrong. I looked, but I haven't found. You haven't mentioned looking so there's no way to make a contrast (but) to it. You mean something like "That's surprising because I haven't found ..."
    So just to sum it up, is this fine?
    Surprisingly, I haven't found any entries on the occasion.
     

    old woman

    Senior Member
    dutch
    Case no.2 shows how the writer/speaker has free choice of tense to suggest whether, in their mind, the situation is ongoing or not.
    By "ongoing" do you mean the speaker is still searching or do you mean that the present relevance of not having found any entries is ongoing = important now?
     
    Last edited:

    Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    2a. I looked for those entries today but I didn't find any. (Implication: ...and I don't intend to go on looking.)
    2b. I looked for those entries today but I haven't found any. (Implication: ...so far; I'm happy to go on looking.)
     

    old woman

    Senior Member
    dutch
    2a. I looked for those entries today but I didn't find any. (Implication: ...and I don't intend to go on looking.)
    2b. I looked for those entries today but I haven't found any. (Implication: ...so far; I'm happy to go on looking.)
    So it's not possible to say: "I haven't found any" when you don't intend to go on looking?
     
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